Blast from the Past – “Can O’ Grease”

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I have a Livejournal, and the duck cross-posts to it automatically because I am lazy. I don’t hang out there much anymore,  mostly because it’s blocked at work so I can’t surf, and (again) I am lazy. Plus, most of the people I chat with now post to Facebook (which this lazy blog also cross-posts too).

So my dear friend J posted an old entry from 2005 about our first meeting, and I began to click through a half a year’s worth of entries, reading and smiling. Folks, I wish I were half as amusing as I used to be. Maybe it’s the good  job, or the lack of constant conflict, or the fact that with all of the constant social networking, the really fun story-posts get lost in the  short status updates.  I’m really sorry about that.  I miss those days, and I want them back.  So, for you, dear reader,  I’m going to post some of the ones that had me snickering in fond remembrance.  I will be taking out the LJ User IDs, unless the owners tell me I can do otherwise. LJ Denizens of the Backroom can probably figure them out anyway.

From January 5, 2006: Can O’ Grease:

Suggested by HA, who loves seeing his user ID in print (the same way men like hearing their named screamed during sex, I guess) after an exchange we’d had about lard. He told me that the “main staple of the true hillbilly pantry is bacon grease”. I don’t disagree, but there’s more to it (slightly expanded for clarity and because I’m feeling especially wordy):

The bacon grease *has* to be in an old Maxwell House coffee can sitting either on the stove or (if you believe that lard actually goes bad) in the fridge. Irregardless (best. un-word. ever.) the can and its lid have to be older than time, coated on the outside with enough grease to fry up a few chicken and maybe a ‘coon, and not only will the contents have bacon grease, but chicken drippings and, for added flavor, ground beef oozings. There will be *things* in it, but that’s okay because you can think of those things as “Flavor Crystals ™” that explodes with a zip of … something. It’s like a surprise party in your mouth EVERY. TIME.

There is nothing in the world that smells like grease, and the mark of a well-used stove top is the pervasive yet comforting smell of animal fat hanging in the air just above the burners. Everything fried in our house had flavors of beef, pork, and chicken, and I would imagine that we didn’t eat out much, not due to lack of funds, but because stuff just didn’t taste like home. The only grease that didn’t get used in our home was the drippings leftover from frying liver, not because I hate liver (Mom didn’t love me that much) but because it was a flavor that overpowered everything else. There was no gentle mixing of the flavors with liver drippings added. It was a balls out slug fest with Beef, Pork, and Chicken taking their sorry asses to the locker room, and Liver running around the ring, bloody arms pumping the sky and mooing triumphantly.

Does the lady of the house cook, and inquiring gentleman calling might wonder – look for the coffee can sitting on the stove, the one shiny and slick with grease and gristle. Except at my sister’s house.

My sister Lisa lives in Nashville. It’s a lovely house in one of those subs that has 100 of the same design clustered in cul-de-sacs, all garage front (which I despise), and in case of carpetbombing everyone would die because there’s only one way in and out. There is also no viable parking, so if you’re entertaining, guests have to either block the neighbors’ driveways or park on the lawn. Classy. It really is a nice house, but the kitchen isn’t much bigger than mine, poorly laid out by people who’s cooking expertise consists of dialing for carryout or popping a TV dinner in the microwave. She is “moving up in the world”, which means she’s forgetting her roots – her blackness – her grease can.

Exchange at my Nashville sister’s house over one Thanksgiving visit:

Me (pointing to a stainless steel coffee pot looking thing on stove): “What the hell’s that?”
Her: “It’s a grease thing. See -” (Here she picks up the greasy decanter and points to a circle imprinted on the stove) ” – it sits on the stove and the grease doesn’t get hard.”
Me: “I swear I don’t know you anymore. Snob. What’s wrong with a can?”
Her: “We don’t drink coffee. Besides, it came with the house. It didn’t come with the filter so there are still chunky bits in it. ”
Me: “Can I pretend they’re chunky baby bits?”
Her: “Knock yourself out.”
Me: “If I bought you a can would you use it?”
Her: “It won’t fit on the circle. See – this thing fits on the circle.”
Me: “Snob.”
Her: “Babyeater.”

And then it degenerated into hair pulling and mom had to break us up. We went to our shame corners and had to write essays on the importance of diversity.

Okay, not really, but I have sent her empty coffee cans when I find them. She sends them back with dollbaby heads. It’s a thing we do.

Okay, not really.

Is that what you had in mind HA?

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Just this fox. I'm a writer of horror and dark fantasy. I totally don't brag about it. The latter statement is an utter lie.
  • Barb
    April 9, 2011 - 7:33 pm

    THANK YOU for this wonderful nostalgia trip. I was raised in a home with a grease can (MJB coffee!). My own and spouse’s health problems preclude OUR household having a grease can, alas. But oh, the memories. Mother and Granny both had grease cans….

    • little black duck
      April 12, 2011 - 12:30 am

      Sorry your comment got caught in my filter!

      Happy to have provide the memories.

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