Throwing Away Fat

Does anyone else find it weird that we often throw away animal fat when cooking and then buy shortening?

I was setting up some chicken to go in the crock pot. I’d roasted a chicken and being utterly lazy, had just covered the chicken in its pan and put it in the fridge. When I took it out to put in the crock pot to make stock, there was a layer of solidifed fat over the gelatin.

Now, I always put the gelatin back in the crock pot with the bones and meat scraps to make the stock, but I often throw away the fat (if you’ve been raised in the Jewish cooking tradition, stop howling. I’m not one of the Chosen people and grew up in the dietary fat-phobic 1980s).

Looking at the amount of fat I’d taken off, I frowned and realized that was about as much fat as I’d use for dumplings when making chicken and dumplings (which I intend to do tonight).

So, tonight, I’m going to use that to make the dumplings. I bet they’ll taste awesome made that way.

My mother tells me that her grandmother used to save bacon fat and use that the way we’d use shortening to make biscuits. I bet they tasted amazing, too.

I do think that maybe in throwing away the fat, especially if we’re going to be adding other fat to the food, anyway, mebbe we’re being pretty wasteful.

One Reply to “Throwing Away Fat”

  1. I actually keep a ramekin of bacon fat on the stove, I use it for frying my morning egg in my 6″ cast-iron pan… It doesn’t take much. I’ve also used the fat from bacon instead of oil for quick-and-dirty white sauce (fry up stuff you want in the white sauce with a bit of extra fat, add a tablespoon of flour and let it coat everything you’re frying, give it another minute or two in the pan and then add milk to desired consistency, nifty trick I learned from a crepes cookbook). I’ve also saved fat from other meat for frying the veggies or my eggs, and when the fat’s all mixed up with other stuff (like the stuff that comes off my electric grille) it makes great firestarters for the fireplace if you take a cardboard egg carton, smear it with fat and fill it with woodchips…

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