homemaking

Dripping

Dripping pot

I am on a crusade. For many, what you are about to read will be the most nutritionally politically incorrect information you have come across in some years. In fact, I would say at least 40 years. I am about to extol the virtues of the rendered fat from roasted protein – dripping. Purists please turn away.

Recent generations have been severely lectured to about the dangers of diets weighing high in saturated fats. Nutritionally sound advice, I would agree. However, the tsk tsking  and finger-pointing my grandmother and her compatriots have been subject to for the use of dripping in their family cooking, from subsequent nutritionally ‘informed’ generations has been quite intense. Yet considering her apparent lack of dietary insight, she and her cronies were lean little birds who lived into ripe old ages – meanwhile, the current dripping-free population is fattening and dying. Hmmm.

From my observation, it seems that dripping has become the baby thrown out with the nutritional bath water. It has been demonised – unfairly I believe – to the point where our current generation no longer recognises it, let alone its culinary worth.

Inside the dripping pot

This sweet little vintage pot bears testament to this. Many would be puzzled by its design. It is a dripping pot and it works quite simply. The roasting juices are poured through the strainer, which catches the meat and pan remnants, allowing the rendered fat to flow through. This little pot then takes residence on the refrigerator shelf. After chilling, the fat solidifies and separates from the meat juices.

This jar contains the pourings from my roast chicken pan.

chicken dripping

Now, when I need some fat to brown off vegetables and meats for curries or stews, this flavoursome, natural product is the go to. You can have several little pots of power on the go by saving the drippings from pork and beef roasts as well. This is a wonderful old skill to relearn and reinstate into future kitchens.

Processed foods don’t tend to end up on our table very often, so therefore room has been made for some flavoursome animal fat in our meals. These small amounts, used in moderation, deliver so much oomph to the dishes you make, and chances are, if you are using them then meals from fresh vegetables and meat are under construction. Not an autolyzed yeast extract or modified cornstarch to be had.

Roast beef

Postscript: and just as the purists are picking themselves up off the floor, I have one more arrow to sling – roasted potatoes in dripping.

personal style

New-fashioned

Thrifted red boots $5

Nothing injects more energy into the morning routine, than having a new piece to wear about. And if that piece left your finances relatively unchanged, then all the more satisfying it is to parade. It’s thrift shopping I’m referring to and thankfully, this mode of fashion retail is gaining momentum. The current rapid turnover of ‘disposable’ fashion means our thrift shops have never had such an interesting array of wares on offer. Loads of barely worn garments and accessories are there for the taking – or for just a few gold coins.

Wool jacket $6
Wool jacket $6

The difficulty can lie in choice, or where exactly to begin. I tend to hunt for items that need topping up in my wardrobe or for pieces that when replaced at full retail cost are hefty. Hence, this tailored wool jacket. If you’re lucky enough to find a classic cut in a colour you love – grab it. Another strategy is to scan the racks’ fabrics and colours – if something catches your eye, pull it out. If it caught your eye then, it is likely that it will always appeal to you. And then of course, strategies and sensibilities aside, there is always serendipity….

Boho Boots $5
Boho Boots $5

Yes these serendipitous cowboy boots just popped up. These are the kind of thrifty opportunities you just have to be open to!

The true value of thrifted fashion however, lies in its longevity. If you pay the riches of Solomon for a new item, you can be sure that before its first day out has come to an end, you will either have stained or torn it. Thrifted stuff does not attract spills, never rips and never needs dry cleaning.

Rust jacket $3
Rust jacket $3

I guess the essential elements to thrift shopping are time (I noticed a fellow thrifter recently, Ipod attached, casually browsing the racks), a mind that is open to possibility and an understanding that your clothing does not always have to be new, but simply new to you.

Coconut ice cardi $3
Coconut ice cardi $3

Postscript: so for just over $20, I’m trotting out new boots, jackets and a spring cardi – I’m ok with that.

personal style

Frou-Frou

If I can gaze down and see flowers on my toes I am confident the day will be a good one.

One of the added bonuses of warmer weather is the acceptability of frivolous shoes. Biting wind and soggy nature strips are not conducive to flower sandals – but sunny days are.

Having filled just about every nook in our home with bunches of spring blooms, I decided it was time to start on my feet. These are just inexpensive chain store buckle ups, but they brighten my day just as easily as their affluent Uncles Choo or Blahnik would. I think my initial foray into flowery feet were the plastic thongs with giant daisies on top, that were all the rage when I was 10. When I slipped them on, I spent as much time then, as I do today, gazing adoringly at my toes.

In a world of dental appointments, tax forms and electricity bills, it’s lovely to have a little bit of frou-frou to lighten the mood. There are plenty of versions around – especially in discount stores. Maybe you have a pretty pair tucked away from summers gone by – seek them out, slip them on and watch what a pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt turns into.

Postscript: In the aftermath of Click Frenzy – of which I took no part – I can honestly say, there could not have been anything more appealing to me online than these ‘bad girls’.

homemaking

Pot

There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained when you use an object of beauty or interest to fulfil a utilitarian purpose.

I found this old dear in a thrift shop and she now resides next to my computer holding pens, tape measure and other assorted paraphernalia necessary for online browsing.  Any clutter vital items that land on the desk, get tossed under her lid. In fact she is the extraordinary who creates orderly.

We do have a tendency to organise ourselves this way in other areas of the home, with the potatoes living in a pottery urn, the eggs in a ceramic ‘chook’ and the washing powder in a large preserving jar. All containers are quirky, thrifted and repurposed.

Giving new life to objects with a history is a way of saluting the past and making a commitment to a sustainable future.

Post script: if anyone knows the history of this fruit jar, don’t hold back.