Monday, November 19, 2012

GRANNY'S GREASE by Diane Kelly

It’s Thanksgiving week, and in just a few days everyone around the US will give thanks for the blessings life has bestowed upon them and gather around tables with family and friends to eat a feast.  While many of the foods will be the same throughout the country, some of the dishes will vary by region and some will vary on the tastes of the family or primary cook.  

I grew up in the south. My granny, who lived in west Texas for most of her life, was very much a southern cook, meaning she cooked everything –and I mean everything! - in recycled grease.  She kept the can of grease in her cabinet, scooping out a spoonful to fry eggs, pork chops, or chicken, returning the grease to the can once the food was done cooking and the grease began to cool. The grease was like a slick, artery-clogging history of meals gone by. Some of that grease could likely be dated back to the Great Depression. Somehow, despite all the grease, Granny and Granddad lived to be very old (92 and 88 respectively). 

We had several Thanksgivings at Granny and Granddad’s house, and  Granny always made one of my favorite Thanksgiving treats – sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows on top. Yum!  I still love the stuff and make it for every holiday.  As you can guess, I’m far from a gourmet cook, though I appreciate fancier dishes when someone else makes them.

Do you have a recipe that is a family or regional favorite?  Do you like easy-to-make comfort foods for the holidays, or do you prefer a more-refined gourmet meal?  Are there any unusual or unique recipes in your repertoire or a funny cooking story in your family? 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Unknown said...

We too had the pot o' grease in my family. I think in the south it's one of the items that's automatically included in every will. Perhaps I'll inherit my mother's pot some day since my sister isn't the cook in the family.
As for dishes my favorite is the same as yours...sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows. We also add a little bit of pineapple juice which gives it a great flavor. Another favorite is the wonderful green bean casserole. I could live off those two dishes at Thanksgiving. My wife's family will be coming to our place so there will be about 18 of us and we all pitch in with the cooking. The only thing I do on my own is making the desserts. This year I'm planning on pecan pie, sugar-free pumpkin cheesecake for my niece who is diabetic, peanut butter pie, and chocolate cake. Wow. I better get cooking.

Diane said...

The pineapple juice sounds like a great addition. I'll have to try that this year. Your comment about inheriting the pot of grease cracked me up. I've actually wondered what happened to the one my granny had . . .

Unknown said...

We would just have soon have gumbo for Thanksgiving instead of Turkey. Occasionally we did fry a Turkey, and then would have the usual southern sides. Sweet potato casserole(we preferred the one made with pecan topping instead of marshmallow.)
Green bean casserole and of course the louisiana favorite rice dressing.Then with leftover turkey we made gumbo..
Family favorite dessert is fruit salad. The non-cookers of the family would fight to see who got to make it. One of my cousins managed to win the fight one year, but when we went to eat it, we laughed because she didn't peel the apples. The family recipe we passed around we would peel the apples. So after that year, she was banned from getting to bring the fruit salad.

Brandy said...

We're pretty traditional here. My Mom was a transplanted Yankee in the South and even she kept that grease. I don't know what happened to that.....
I have a funny for you! One year when I was a child we had had Thanksgiving dinner and the guests had long gone when we heard a crash from the kitchen. There were the cat and dog on the floor eating the turkey carcass. Seems they'd worked together as a team. The cat had gotten on the counter and knocked the turkey in the floor so he and the dog could share. *g*