Robbin Bruce: Butts meat and a cast iron pan

  • Thursday, August 29, 2013

Every Sunday morning a noise goes off that I hate, my alarm clock. Usually around 5:30 a.m. or so, believe it or not, I'm off to church. Every week several of us get to together to cook a full breakfast for whoever shows up.

As I walk in the door, I smell two things, one a good pot of coffee, and the other, to be honest, I'm not sure. I call it mystery meat, because to be honest, I never know what Jack's going to be cooking.

Now don't get me wrong, it's good, you just might not want to know what it is. Now if you're just a country boy, like most of us, it's stuff we were raised on, but if you weren't well, you might not want to ask. But go ahead and eat it any way. You'll like it.

It's either butts meat, jowl meat, maybe a little fatback threw in there with a little venison sausage and onions. It probably would make a doctor from the Mayo Clinic run for the hills, but like that commercial from the seventies says, “Try it, you'll like it.” And we do. Problem is, by the time everybody gets there around 9 a.m. or so, it's all gone.

Most of us tend to forget that, well, we were raised on the stuff. I used to love to go to Granddaddy's; he always seemed to have a mess of butts meat fried up.

We would gnaw it down to the hard part, and then try to crack it with our teeth, lucky we have any left. And as I think back, I remember seeing Momma cooking lima beans with a hunk of butts meat floating round in it, yes I know it flavored it good, but it just wouldn't taste the same as coming out of a black cast iron frying pan.

And maybe that's the problem; they seemed to be trying to do away with an old black cast iron frying pan. When we were coming up, everything was cooked in it, and I mean every thing. You want to fry an egg, throw a little grease in it, and then the eggs. Pancakes, same thing, a little batter and a little grease. How many of you, think back now, remember that little can that sat on your Momma's stove. Do you remember what she kept in it, it sure wasn't flowers like they do now, it was bacon grease.

Back when we were coming up everything was cooked in it. If you threw a little bacon grease in one of these space age frying pans we have now with the green non-stick coating, it would melt right through the bottom. Even biscuits had a little in them, but probably not much, just for flavor.

We have become such great health nuts today that anything that might look unhealthy, we aren't about to touch. But maybe because we were outside running everything we ate off, instead of sitting behind a keypad, it didn't affect us like it does now. Maybe that cast iron rubbed off on us and gave us iron stomachs. I don't know.

But now we look to see what's in our hot dog instead of what's on it. Baloney, mayo and cheese, the food groups we were raised on have turned in to Go-gurts, what ever that is.

Every day for supper, we had lima beans, butter beans, black eyed peas, and rice, always rice with something.

And Mickey D's, you didn't run to town when Momma already had supper on the table and some kind of meat fried in that old black iron frying pan.

But I guess all good things must come to an end, and between the doctors, the TV and the Reader's Digest, they just about got us convinced that the way we were raised wasn't all that good for you. And I guess in a way they are winning,

Except on Sunday morning, “Jack passed the butt meat.”

You can reach Robbin Bruce by e-mail at robbinbruce@yahoo.com.

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