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Pots of Fats

March 6, 2018

When two people from very different backgrounds get married, there is always the cross pollination of ideas. Mrs. Fussy has contributed a great deal toward my greater sense of thriftiness and abhorrence of waste. And she has picked up a greater appreciation for some of the finer things in life, including an impressive wine palate that exceeds my own.

Before we were married, I would throw away food with reckless abandon. Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t take home leftovers. I would. They would just sit in my refrigerator until they spoiled, and then I would throw them away.

Since those days I have changed, and now save all kinds of food scraps to work into other dishes. But I also have some hoarding tendencies. So sometimes those two things can result in unintended, if not entirely surprising outcomes.

For example, have you heard about my pots of fats?

Apparently, along with little end pieces of cheese, they’ve taken over the refrigerator. I know this because when I was attending the New York Craft Brewers Festival on Saturday, Mrs. Fussy did a little fridge cleaning. And when I got back, all my little jars, measuring cups, and bowls of fat, had been moved out of the back corners of the fridge to a position of prominence.

Now stacked, front and center, it was clear that these had gotten a bit out of hand.

Of course, there was one small thing of bacon fat. It’s one of the most delicious fats, and when I told my son we had some he squealed in delight. Eggs scrambled in bacon fat is one of his favorite things to eat.

There was some very clean, white beef fat too. I couldn’t quite figure out how that got in there, but I think it was a remnant of the beef stock process. Beef fat is great with roasted potatoes. Heck, it was the secret to what made McDonald’s french fries so good back in the day. And it’s not something I would use all the time, but rather as a special treat.

I had two different bowld of clarified butter. One was in progress of being used. It’s great to have around for two things. Higher heat searing where you want the flavor of butter but without its browning potential, and for making french style omelets. It’s also called for a lot in Indian dishes, but I tend to make vegan versions of these with seasoned safflower oil instead. Anyhow, I remelted the clarified butter, and combined the two pots into one.

After cooking pork shoulders in a spice rub with vinegar and onions in a slow cooker for hours, the meat releases a lot of fat which picks up some spectacular flavor from the rub and cooking liquid. This I reserve for when I refresh one of those shoulders from the freezer. Although, I will occasionally use that meat for dishes that go in a different direction flavor-wise. And that meant, I really didn’t need all three pots of seasoned pork fat anymore. There are just a couple pieces of shoulder remaining in the chest freezer, so one small jar of this stuff will be fine.

What I do need is the blend of pork fat and olive oil that came off the berkshire pork leg. Although I do need to portion that out a bit more. However, I suppose

And while mojo isn’t technically fat, since its made with olive oil that is not entirely emulsified, a layer of fat sits on the top of the jar. This should be used up within the day as I finish the pork scraps that did not make it into the freezer.

In the end, Mrs. Fussy was happy with the pots of fats simplification process. It made more room in the fridge. And I really only had to toss a precious little bit of pork fat. The boy will be happy with his weekend breakfast, and I’ll get to enjoy the rest of the mojo today.

Yes, there is still a little bit of waste. And it’s amazing how much that affects me these days. But I neither have the time nor the inclination to make soap or candles.

It turns out there is just only so much fat one can eat on a relatively healthful diet.

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