Monday, August 11, 2008

Traditional Southern Fare at its Best...

In the mad rush to get ready for the GRE as well as a new school year, I've been doing a lot of last-of-summer experiments. Like trying out Anson Mill's grits. And yup--they're just as good and as hominy/corny delicious as Sharon said they were! Trust me--these grits are bursting with creamy flavor--you can, and will--eat them straight. (Though a little gravy on the side never hurt anything at all!)

Speaking of gravy--I've also discovered yet another Southern delicacy--cracklin's. Though I don't them for eating straight, I've discovered that they make some awesome pan gravy. If you add just a little bit of seasoning, it's as good as the "Ben and Wiley" (Fried Chicken) pan gravy from my childhood.

But you can't have cracklins'--at least homemade ones--without pig fat. And you don't cook down cracklin's without a lot of manteca de cerdo--otherwise known as lard or (directly translated from the Spanish) pig butter. Yup. I'm just curious enough to try it. (If anyone's curious about the process, you can find it here and here.) And let me tell you! It's so worth it! Anything fried in the stuff turns out terrifically crisp and delicious. And, according to these people, it's one of the best fats you can use for just about anything. But you can't get this kind of lard in the store, 'cause all of it in the store has been pelted and assaulted with hydrogen molecules, making it hydrogenated. Which means unhealthy. (But my, my, doesn't it keep on the shelf!)

I've frozen some of the lard, and I'm planning on making some fine, fine pie crust in the not-too distant future.

And along with some not-so-impressive fig and lemon preserves, that's what I've been doing.

Well--except for readying my curriculum and room for school. And trying to study for the GRE. That's all.

Sorry--no pictures of the lard. I know you're dying to see, too.

God bless!

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