Sunday, March 28, 2010

This Little Piggy . . .

Have you seen the price of bacon these days? Certainly gives pause when hearing the expression that “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” .. In my not-so-humble opinion, the sow’s ear IS the silk purse.

At the supermarket, these days, most of the time, you don’t even buy a pound (16 oz) of bacon anymore. No sir-ree! Most of the cured and sliced pig is packaged into 12 ounce portions. This last trip to the market, the least expensive selection was priced at two for six dollars. And that was the “I-never-heard-of-that-brand-before brand” – not a lot of lean meat showing on the few and strangely irregular slices peeking through the little lift-up-the-flap window. Look at it this way .. calculator out and in hand: that 12 ounce package at three dollars would make it four dollars a pound. Not bad. But wait! When the bacon is cooked, you are left with something like 20% food and 80% cooked-off grease. Unless you use and consume all of that grease, you have just paid four dollars for three point two ounces of meat, making that 12 ounce package of bacon actually cost ten dollars or thirteen dollars and thirty three cents pound. Filet mignon, yes! Lobster, definitely. But bacon??? I don’t think so. On the other hand, what are you actually paying if you choose The Brand bacon at $11 or $12 a package (still 12 oz)???

Back in the 1900’s, I’m guessing in the thirties or forties, my dad had a farm where he raised hogs, among other things. He told me one time that when he got a nickel (5¢) a pound, he felt rich.

So the little ‘ditty’ has changed and goes something like this:

(Old: This little piggy went to market)
   This little piggy went shopping at the exclusive organic food boutique,(Old: This little piggy stayed at home)
   This little piggy stayed at his castle lounging by the pool,(Old: This little had roast beef)
   This little piggy had Sushi,
(Old: And this little piggy had none)
   This little piggy is on a diet of Perrier and black Russian caviar.
(Old: And this little piggy went wee-wee-wee all the way home).
   And this little piggy went oui oui oui all the way to his maison in Paris.

This country gal loves to cook with her bacon, and for those few times when “ya just gotta have it” .. and can’t bring yourself to use the already-cooked-and-chopped-up-in-a-package variety, try this sweet little trick.

Purchase the bacon, bring it home and freeze it solid – no cheating! When you’re ready to use it, remove from the freezer. Unwrap and discard the outer cardboard packaging (if it comes that way). Cut a small slit in the plastic wrapping and microwave on high for ONE minute. Remove from the plastic and cut into small pieces going across the bacon. The easiest way to cut it is with a pair of kitchen scissors, but a good, sharp knife will work with the nearly frozen bacon. Continue with regular cooking method from here.

If you only need a half a package, after the one minute in the microwave, cut the entire package in half, wrap the unused portion in freezer-safe wrap, label and freeze (no, it won’t harm it as the bacon has not been completely thawed). Or, you can cook the entire package and freeze what you don’t need at this time.

Since my dad is mentioned earlier, I thought you might enjoy a little bit more of his wonderful, cantankerous, generous and always fun personality. This man was and still is my hero. Since my folks were adults during the GREAT DEPRESSION, they learned how to live on less than . . . and they passed so much wisdom on to their three daughters.

Daddy often bought bent, dented, and no-more-label canned goods; no, not exclusively, but if something was a bargain, he bought it! We always had an excess of canned goods and never did without.

He always bought what was on sale and we were blessed to be raised with a variety of foods … I still refuse to eat Scrambled Beef Brains and Rocky Mountain Oysters, but I do have a broad range of food tastes.

Once, my mom had to explain that just because Daddy kept a lot of postage stamps in his desk, he did NOT get them on sale at the post office….big surprise to me as I thought he got everything at a bargain!

One time, Daddy bought a batch of small cans that had no labels. They turned out to be “people food” but my mom was concerned that they could have been cat food, but she dutifully opened them. She was relieved to discover edible food for her family instead of cat food.

I admit to shopping the same way. If the can does not have any sign of liquid on the outside and is not “bulging” it’s safe. Why not save forty or fifty cents on a bent can?

Easter with all its Promises is just around the corner. Have a Blessed time in your House of Worship and please remember why we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Christ.

Have a wonderful Country Week as we watch and hope for Spring-like weather.        © 2010 Cat Brennan


  1. Wonderfully written, Catherine! I always appreciate people who appreciate the value of a dollar -- such as it is! Today's kids have no idea what it's like to have to survive with so little. I really admire depression-era values. I will try your suggested way of cooking bacon. Thank you so much!

  2. Thank you, Scott! There will be more. BTW .. you did a great job with Jesus! He is the best hero, even before my dad!

  3. You can buy the "Ends and Pieces" Bacon at Wal-Mart, suuuuuper cheap, and it's good for anything you put bacon IN, even sammmiches!!