Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 30, 2009

Ed Hungness: The value of bacon grease

Does anyone ever wonder what happens to all the bacon grease? I doubt if many ever ponder this question for very long.

In the current economy, our leaders, as well as environmental "experts," are encouraging us to "go green." We are looking for ways to save gas, and soon we'll be encouraged to buy little electric automobiles that look like roller skates on steroids. Imagine trying to drive one of those down a two-track in a northern Michigan winter!

I wonder if the hybrids will be available in a four-wheel drive version with a Hemi? Can you imagine a hunter trying to load a 10-point buck into the back seat of one?

But then we were discussing bacon grease, weren't we?

Before all this "green" business started, I thought a carbon footprint was the mark I left on the kitchen floor when I forgot to take off my boots. Now it seems to have something to do with not wanting to burn coal to make electricity so that we can charge up those little electric cars that we are all suppose to drive.

It was all much simpler when we weren't so worried about footprints and the hole-filled ozone. We just pulled into a service station, the attendant came out, and you said, "Fill'er up Charlie!" Those were the good old days.

So what has all this got to do with bacon grease, you ask? Well, we are suppose to save and conserve our resources and I consider bacon grease a resource. Most of today's homemakers throw the bacon grease in the garbage or (heaven forbid) down the disposal. How "green" is that?

I can remember my mom and grandmother saving bacon grease. Keep in mind that the variety of cooking oils that we now have available didn't exist back in the '40s and '50s and what few existed were expensive. Basically, we had lard, bacon grease and butter. Butter was too expensive to use for frying but the bacon grease came free with the bacon.

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