It Ain’t Bacon
Sunday Morning. My favorite.
I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. We’re out in the proverbial, “boonies.” Some might think it’s boring. Sometimes I might even feel that way. But as is with nearly everything, reality is but a state of mind. If you think it’s boring, it is. If you think it isn’t, it isn’t. Most often, however, I think it’s quiet, serene, peaceful. And I’m most content in that peace.
Peace in my life just fills my soul. It's definitely one of the most coveted things in my life. My husband, who is a farm-bred country boy, just doesn’t understand such “deep” thoughts, and just smiles at me when I tell him how peace in my life just “enhances my harmony.”
I sit, in my rocker, on the covered front porch, contemplating life- my physical health, my beautiful children, my family, the green beauty of the trees that sway in the gentle morning breeze, the glory of Mother Earth, and my spiritual relationship with God. And all is good with the world- in my world. Well, that is to say, all is well except for one thing.
I want me some bacon!! Yeah, bacon! Good ol’ country-style, melt-in-your-mouth-‘cause-it’s-so-crispy, cast-iron-skillet-fried, dripping-in-grease, thick-cut BACON! And biscuits. I want me some buttery, crispy-on-the-outside-moist-and-tender-on-the-inside biscuits! And scrambled eggs- with butter and cheese and hot sauce! Oh, and onions! And I gotta say, I wouldn’t mind some good ol’ only-in-the-south-drizzled-in-butter grits- seasoned of course, with bacon.
You see, I grew up with folks who fully appreciated the taste of good old, "down-home" Southern-style cooking. Memories of going to my Grandma’s house are sweet, where we entered her home and more often than not, the aroma of a big pot of greens, with a big ol’ piece of fatback thrown in for seasoning, filled the air. And as a child, Sunday supper meant fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans (seasoned, of course, with bacon,) deviled eggs and hot biscuits dripping in home-canned jelly. And no supper was complete with the legendary southern sweet tea. And if there happened to be any fried chicken left over, which was rare, it was served the following day- cold grease and all- with potato salad and baked beans, which also were seasoned with good ol’ bacon. The truth is, you can’t beat bacon. And you can’t beat bacon grease. It’s a staple in southern kitchens…right up there with flour, sugar milk and eggs. And I have to admit, I have a Mason jar of it in the fridge, even as I speak….er, write.
My father and his siblings went right from mother’s breast milk to bacon grease. It was used to season most anything- beans, greens, taters, (don’t look it up..it ain’t in Webster’s) bread, squash, zucchini, cornbread, eggs.
With a little deeper contemplation, I’m certain God gave us the cows and all the animals and then He probably stood back, thought about it a bit and said, “Hmmm..there’s something missing.” Then he gave us the pigs, because He just knew we were gonna need that bacon grease.
My attention is brought back to the present, as a beautiful bluebird soars across the sky over my front yard and perches in the Crepe Myrtle. I look down at my morning breakfast which I hold in my hand. Mean Green. Mean Green juice, comprised of kale, cucumber, celery, green apples, lemon and ginger. And I sigh. At least it's in a Mason jar. I hold my breath and chug down a few more ounces. Because I should. Because it’s good for me. Because it’s full of needed nutrients. But I gotta tell ya…
It ain’t Bacon.