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The Flavor Came From Fat

 

Grandma cooked on a woodstove in a little tar-paper shack

With the kitchen off to the side, and the bathroom way out back.

And with a shawl around her shoulders against the evening damp

She rocked and read the Good Book by the light of a kerosene lamp.

 

Water came from a bucket, milk came from a cow

Grandpa came from Georgia when ol' Sherman burned it down

Grandma came from the kitchen, wipin' pie dough off her hands

Said: "you kids come set the table, and I'll bring out the pans."

 

Fatback and black-eyed peas, chicken fried in bacon grease,

Grandma had the recipes for all of these down pat.

Grandma knew what every country cook knows for a fact:

It's a labor of love, and the flavor comes from fat.

 

Now, you don't throw nothin' out when you live down on the farm

And if you think I'm kiddin' go take a look behind the barn

Rusty springs and wheels and things all dear to Grandpa's heart

"The South's gonna rise again!" he'd say, and Grandpa had the parts!

 

And the same thing out in the kitchen, where Grandma's word was law

There was tried-and-true tradition behind everything you saw

Fryin' up some bacon or bakin' up a ham,

Grandma'd keep whatever grease was left there in the pan

 

And on the back of that old stove sat a humble china bowl

Where Grandma poured the drippins' off like they were drops of gold

And in this simple way she stayed connected with the past:

The next dish always started with a little bit of the last.

 

Cornbread and collard greens, catfish and hushpuppies

Wouldya pass the butter, please? Grandpa, take off your hat!

Grandma knew what every country cook knows for a fact

It's a labor of love, and the flavor comes from fat.

 

 

© Chuck McCabe

Contact: Woodshed Productions, 15466 Los Gatos Blvd. STE 109-161, Los Gatos, CA 95032 - chuck@chuck-mccabe.com.

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