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Bacon Grease

December 1, 1996 |

As a Mississippian now living in Seattle, I enjoy hearing Roy Blount's accent and his poems about food. Here is one topic in that category that, to my knowledge, has been neglected. I call it:

Ode to Bacon Grease, the Key Ingredient of Southern Cuisine

Does your soul find sweet release
in meals home-cooked with bacon grease?
And living now in Northern clime
do you yet long for food sublime
prepared with rendered flesh of swine?

Or having sloughed the South's compulsion
for salty, smoky pork emulsion
do you melt Crisco instead
to lubricate your hoe-cake bread
and wonder where the tang has fled?

When in your closing, twilight scene,
your arteries cholesterol clean
but life's lamp fading ne'ertheless
will you yet shun the blessed porcine mess
in vain pursuit of wholesomeness?

Take heart, for soon we slip our mortal coil,
through tunnel toward the light to toil
and gladly leave behind canola oil,
to sup again with our wise Creator
who doubtless saves bacon grease in his refrigerator.

Duncan Turner

Thanks, Duncan, and you're right, it's a fine poem, though I must say, having known Roy for fifteen years, I have seen him fry up bacon only twice, and neither time did he save the grease. Perhaps he had enough of it already stored in the refrigerator, I don't know. But I don't recall him ever putting bacon grease in anything he cooked. I did once see him thrust a living lobster into a pot of boiling water (which I would never do myself, of course), but we ate that lobster with drawn butter, not bacon grease. If Roy preferred bacon grease, he didn't mention it to me at the time.

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