My mother would fry bacon patiently, rendering as much of the fat as possible. After she removed the slices to drain on paper towel, she would crack eggs into the hot pan, and carefully baste them with the bacon fat until cooked through to a perfect sunny-side up, dotted with little brown orts left behind. Sometimes she would grab the cast iron handle to tip the frying pan enough to create more of a reservoir for the basting. Her example was one of the ways I learned about patience and deliberation in preparing a meal.
Mommy also always kept a can of bacon fat that she retained after the meal, pouring the excess from the pan and letting it congeal before returning the can to the refrigerator. I have followed in this practice my entire life in the kitchen. In fact, I had the same canning jar for about 20 years, until one day about 2 years ago, I poured the fat from the pan when it was a bit too hot still and the jar was too soon out of the frig. The crack of the glass was a unique sound and I managed to contain the spill before it caused too much mess. Then I started over.
I love bacon but I try to be moderate. I also like the flavor it adds to food I prepare, so it is likely when I am sautéing greens or meats, I add a dollop of bacon fat to the oils. If making beans or greens, definitely! A little bit goes a long way to accent the meal, if I am certain I am not going to be serving anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, or does not eat pork. Everything goes better with bacon for my tastes.
And it is essential to my popcorn. Here is the way I prepare it. It is decadent but delicious. A special treat. Be sure to get really good popcorn that is fresh. I buy mine at the Syracuse Cooperative Market a pound or so at a time.
Georgia’s Decadent Popcorn
- 1-2 tablespoons bacon fat
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (I generally use garlic-infused oil.)
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sesame oil (optional)
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 2-3 tablespoons melted butter
- salt to taste
- grated parmesan, romano, or asiago cheese (optional)
In a 4-quart lidded pot, heat the oils over a medium flame or facsimile. Test with a kernel to see if it pops to be sure it is ready. Add the popcorn, cover tightly, reduce the heat, and gently shake the pot over the burner occasionally until the popping sound stops. It may lift the top off the pan as the corn expands. Keep a big bowl handy.
When the corn has fully popped, pour into the large bowl, drizzle the melted butter over the top, then toss with the seasonings you most like, salt being my first. Grab a napkin and enjoy! It makes a great substitute for dinner when your inner child is acting rebellious. Then join me in the poets happy dance.