Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nectar of the porcine gods

One of the most prized possessions in my kitchen, right up there with my grandmother’s bowls, my well-seasoned iron skillets and my red, outboard motor-sized KitchenAid mixer, is my coffee can filled with bacon drippings. Both a food AND a condiment, bacon makes everything taste better—even more bacon! And the drippings perform double duty as both a cooking fat and a seasoning. What a way to multitask!

Each time I dig into that can, I reflect on the layers of hardened drippings like I would the rings of a tree. With each layer I scratch through I wonder, what was going on the day I poured in this layer? and this layer? and this layer?

I may not live in the rural South anymore, and I may be a big city girl, hobnobbing with the occasional high-profile chef and food celebrity, but I cling to my can of bacon drippings as an anchor to my cultural and culinary past—and as a way to enjoy a darned fine meal. None of that tofu-based faux bacon stuff. You’ve got to have your standards, right?

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