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Southern Comfort

(by Beverly Weinstein)

My mom grew up during the Depression in a small West Virginia town, the third of nine siblings. Her cooking experience as a child must have followed her into adulthood. I can think of no other reason that she insisted on keeping a glass jar filled with bacon grease beside the kitchen stove in her modern suburban kitchen.

Once cooled, the grease went from translucent to ugly beige with small specks of dark brown bacon bits throughout. The consistency fell somewhere between Crisco solid and butter left out on the counter overnight.

I remember a few of Mom’s uses for this cherished culinary treasure. A small amount went into the white flour gravy that accompanied the mashed potatoes served most nights at dinner, as well as on the bottom of the cast iron skillet when she fried pork chops. Frying was always her cooking method of choice.