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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ode to Fat and Salt

We gravitate toward certain foods. My husband, for example, consumes candy like a seven-year-old. If someone were to tell you that they’d seen Willie sitting on a park bench somewhere, clutching handfuls of Pixie Stix*, you could believe them.

I happen to know that he hides candy in his underwear drawer.

This cannot be said about me, however.

So while it is true that I will never turn down the good chocolate, particularly of the dark variety, I must admit that I am not interested in candy corn, Hershey bars, SweeTarts, or any of the other sugar bombs we give to children who don’t know any better.

I do not hide candy in my underwear drawer.

No. Spare me your sugar.

And hand over all your salt and fat.

What, you think I’m kidding? I said hand over your salt and fat!

And if you have any crispy chicken skin on ya, I’ll take that, too.

I’m not alone in this. My father is the same way, and the brutal free-for-alls we had over the fat that my sister trimmed from whatever she was eating bordered on the comical.

“Ya see that?” he’d whisper. “She’s gonna trim all the flavor from it.” And then, aloud, he’d proclaim, “I knew that was too good for you kids. Pass that over here. I claim Karen’s fat in the name of the United States.”

And then we would battle for her fatty leftovers.

OK. So we didn’t really pass around plates of salted fat, unless you count the “cracklin”: bits of pork fat and meat my father fried up hard, coated with salt, and cooled on brown paper bags.

So I guess we did pass around plates of salted fat.

So you know where I’m going with this, right? That’s right, I’m about to blame one of my parents for my fat habit.

I primarily blame my father. He grew up poor enough that sometimes dinner was a matter of reheating the pan that meat had been cooked in earlier, spreading a bit of the heated grease across a slice of bread, then adding a slice of onion and salt and pepper.

“It was a Wish sandwich,” he said. “Because you wished there was some meat in it.”

Have you ever had a Wish sandwich? You know, if you’re hungry enough, it’s not a bad thing.

I'm making myself peckish over here.

You know, this has been helpful. We should talk more often. I started out thinking about my craving for fat and salt and went on to discover that it is both my father's fault and a comfort food.

Mmmm. Comforting, comforting fat.

* Basically flavored sugar in a straw.


Jayne Martin said...

Prior to my partaking in the "poverty and stress" diet, I was addicted to buttered popcorn popped in... Are you ready? Bacon grease. A big dollop of bacon grease added to the oil. MMMMMM... I can just feel my arteries closing up at the mere thought of it.

Pearl said...

Jayne, oh my! Now that you mention it, there IS something intriguing about popcorn and bacon fat...

Jenny said...

Mmmmmmm fat! Is it weird that your father's Wish Sandwich sounds sort of delicious? I might be hungry. I believe there are some cheese potatoes with bacon in the kitchen calling my name. With extra salt of course.

Douglas said...

Deep fried pork rinds! Ok, I don't actually like them myself but my lovely wife occasionally vacuums them while on something called the Adkins Diet. But I understand it because I always thought the fat on pork chops was the most flavorable food in the whole world. And the way my Mom cooked? It was always crispy... just like the burgers she made.

mapstew said...

Yes, I'm with Douglas. Pork fat! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........,,
(dribbles out side of mouth a la Homer J.)


the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

The mere thought of pixie sticks makes my teeth hurt.

Stephanie said...

Wow - never heard of a wish sandwich. Pretty inventive! And hungry.

Joanie M said...

Give me crunchy salty any day of the week. If I get a craving for sweet sometimes, I have a payday bar... sweet, salty, crunchy... everyone's happy.

Susan said...

You are SO not alone in this. No potato chip is safe around me and I have friends who actually invoke my name and remember our trip to the beach every time they smell bacon. Salt and Vinegar chips are calling my name...

DevilsHeaven said...

My hubby HATES my salt addiction. I can't help it. I still lick the bottom of the popcorn bowl. Salt. Butter. HEAVEN.

@eloh said...

Oh Pearl... is there anything more beautiful than a thick slice of fried Country Ham...heaven.

My daughter loves to watch that chef that looks like Mr. Wizard from the 50's... he had a huge Country Ham and he showed how they must first be soaked and drained several times for three days before they can be eaten..... he is NOT a Southerner.... he knows nothing of the heavenly flavor of salt and fat.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

My dad was the same way!! All sorts of weird fatty snack habits picked up during the depression.

He was of the opinion that the greatest expression of love was to offer someone the cream from the top of the milk. Back when milk came un-homogenized.

I blame my butter habit on him.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Hen, I was practically raised on bread and pork dripping. It never did me any harm.

PurestGreen said...

Greetings from a chocolate girl. My mom tells the story of when I was 1.5 years and waddled right past all the Christmas presents and straight towards the plate of chocolate on the table. Thus it began.

The next time I'm at the Edinburgh farmer's market and I see the roasted pig rolls with extra stuffing and salted crackling, I shall think of you.

Linda said...

I love that you used the word "peckish". It's a word my kids all use, to the puzzlement of their friends. We picked it up from an old computer game we played- "Sheep in Space".

Oh, I'm with Willie- Candy is definitely my downfall.

otin said...

(In my best George Carlin impression) Did you ever notice that all of the people who trim every ounce of fat off of a steak, always seem to like bacon?

troutay said...

reading all this is making ME peckish!
My dad used to talk about the lard sandwiches he
had as a kid. Bread, lard, salt, and pepper. He
said they were pretty good when you were really

Not The Rockefellers said...

Pearl, we must be kin, somehow..someway..
Growing up a big treat would be "broiler bits"
we would also mop up the left over bits of Shake-n-Bake with a piece of buttered bread.
No one ever talked about cholesterol...as long as you had regular bowel movements and didn't sit on cold pavement you were a-OK.

Deep fried salt....mmmmm

Peace ~ Rene

Clyde said...

Sounds like a fine thing to me.
Nothing like the fat on the back of a BBQ Tbone steak--oh, and crispy pork crackling with a bit of fat
Ok, I'm eating with you
And I love a bit of dark chocolate--especially with a little orange or peppermint cream

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I love candy corn, Hershey bars, SweeTarts and , Candy Cane Kisses, and chocolate Kisses. I like it all. I've been known to have a secret stash in my underwear drawer just like your hubby too! I don't have anything hidden at the moment.
I also like salt and fat which could explain why I hate my f#cking scale.


justsomethoughts... said...

in the name of the united states, huh.
i like that.
doing it for his country.
a real patriot.
god bless america and pass the cracklins.

mutleythedog said...

Did you eat pork pie? Its just salt and fat like those scratchings - fab!

The Jules said...

I second the pork pie comment, only witht he addition of brown sauce to trun into the earthly equivalent of deep fried ambrosia.

It's five to one in the morning here and now I'm peckish as well.

Irish Gumbo said...

Hey, it's better than just plain lard spread on a cracker!

Aww, man, now I'm, like, wicked peckish!

Jodie Kash said...

That ring of fat around one edge of pork loin chop? Heaven.

Jodie Kash said...

p.s....pop the corn in coconut oil. Trust.

Jeanne said...

Pixie sticks? And circus peanuts? And wax lips?

Willie has great taste.

Not so much on the salty fat thing (except in the form of Fritos).

lakeviewer said...

Salt and fat are also addictive. Yeah, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Ann's Rants said...

Pearl, you rarely make me sad, but

a wish sandwich

sad and sweet.

Tempo said...

Youre not alone there Pearl, when I was a kid we sometimes had lard (fat)on sandwhiches as it was the only thing going. I shudder to think about that now..and my kids would freak if I offered them something like that. LOL But we didnt know any different at the time, and food was food!

Pop and Ice said...

I vacillate between salt and fat and then veer over to the sugar. And then back again. My mother kept all sorts of junk food in the house when we were little and we all got addicted. Popcorn with butter and then a little while later, a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup! Oh, what a terrible diet I have.

rakkasa said...

"Wish sandwich"... I didn't know there was a name for it. But it was common in my childhood, though sometimes there wasn't any onion to go with it. Garlic powder was a good substitute. Until now, I didn't realize that bread fried in leftover meat grease was one of my comfort foods... especially bacon grease... with garlic powder...

My name is PJ. said...

You know when you haven't had time to eat, your blood sugar plummets, you get tired and cranky and you think, 'even CARDBOARD would taste good right about now?'

A wish sandwich would so much better than cardboard. I love your father, in a good, clean, respectful way.

Gaston Studio said...

I'm with you, but with me it's chips and cheezits and not actual fat from meat. Love your father's wish sandwich... so sweet.

And yes, let's talk more. I like what you have to say!

Lori E said...

Thanks for coming by my site. Nice to meet you.
I am all about the salt and butter, no meat fat or skin please (shudder). It goes better with red wine.
Not many keep the tin of fat by the stove any more. I did a post once on my uncle who as a young boy found a nickle and bought a tin of sardines with it. He then hid in the attic and ate the whole can so as not to have to share with his dozen or so brother's and sisters.
He could have bought candy.

Barbara Blundell said...

Ooh,fried bread, pork scratchings, 'sad'chips,black puddings,suet dumplings..........

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

I hear ya. There is nothing in the world like yummy, crispy, salty, fried foods. I try to keep it to something of a minimum, but it is one of my favorite things in the world.