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Cooking with Annie
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler

Do any of you older folks remember when as a youngster, there was always a can of bacon drippings placed next to the kitchen stove? It was customary to pour drippings into the can and to use that flavorful collection when you needed to fry something.

I don’t know when that stopped. I don’t ever remember keeping grease as a young mother. However, we once saved our grease this way. 

What does the kitchen culinary cook do with grease today? I pour mine into a container or wipe it out with a paper towel and cast it in the kitchen trash can. Nothing like that can go down the drain at our rural home. It shouldn’t anyway regardless.

Yes, I know we have all been fed a lot of bunk about only eating “low fat” and avoiding fried food, etc. Blah,blah blah. Of course, it shouldn’t be a daily habit. However, long live flavor and good taste!

Our garden has been producing abundantly this summer. The cabbages have all survived. I have been frying the cabbage in bacon grease with onions and whatever else I concoct. 

And what happened to the electric frying pan? I don’t remember when I stopped using ours, but it’s as though, like the bacon grease habit, it just disappeared out of our lives. Several days ago, I spied some of Fred’s Lake Wilson fish in our freezer. “Today is the day,” I thought. 

I retrieved our electric fry pan from a shelf in the basement, thawed the fish, and I was committed. Whee! I dipped the fish in egg, then in a Harold Ensley flour concoction. I didn’t use the bacon grease however! I used some good old Crisco and plopped that hunk of forbidden stuff in the pan.

You are not going to believe this. I had forgotten. I hadn’t realized. The frying pan heated up that oil so much faster than our gas stove, I couldn’t believe it. And it maintained the heat. 

The fish were delicious! It cooked quickly, browned evenly, like no pan today can do.

Am I boring you yet? This was a flash of revelation to me! An aha moment!

Next discovery from the long ago. My black, cast-iron frying pan.

If forgotten kitchen cookery could weep, mine would be bawling their heads off.

I found out on Pinterest how to care for cast iron. I decided that YES, I could use this cooking utensil.

Cast iron cooks more evenly, browns more effectively, take less heat to do the job, and requires less oil when seasoned well. I love my cast iron and I am about ready to take several of my other fry pans and banish them to the shelf in the basement! There! Let them know how it feels to be rejected and forgotten! 

Next discovery. The tea pot!   

I now find that by heating the water, adding the tea, and letting the brew steep in the pot makes delicious tea. Oh my gosh! In the winter I will certainly use my teapot. It has been sitting on a shelf with a glass door, looking pretty for too long.

Now, shall we return together to the can of drippings that are sitting near my stove?

The drippings are delicious when used to fry potatoes. You don’t need much. That’s the secret. It doesn’t have to be a fatty meal. No drenching. Just fried potatoes in the bacon grease; less fat, and better taste than those commercial French fries that we buy at fast food eateries.

“Oh, but Annie, I don’t have the time to do these things!” What? No, we have been sold a market-based psychology that isn’t accurate. Cooking this way, going this route, is not that time consuming. Besides, it’s less expensive.

Trust me. I am the Queen of the lazy cooks! Time for a change. Let’s go for it!

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at Visit her website