This Scarcity of Fats: The jar of cooking fat beside the stove

Save Waste FatsWhen I was young, my mother and my grandmothers always kept a tin can or jar of cooking fat on or beside the oven. Every time they cooked meat, they strained the leftover fat into the jar, to be used again for another meal, often to make gravy for mashed potatoes.

The memory popped into my mind yesterday when transcribing my great aunt Hattie’s diary entry for September 14, 1945 (full diary entry at the end of the post).

[Will] went to Whiting Store last eve to get mail and Sadie gave him 1 doz. eggs because we gave lard in this scarcity of fats. ~ September 14, 1945

It turns out that my mother’s can beside the stove had a specific origin. Generations of women who lived through and grew up during World War II learned to save and re-use cooking fats from bacon and other meats because oil and butter were strictly rationed and in short supply. Households were also encouraged by the government to donate or sell their waste fats to their local butcher, to be used to make explosives for the war effort.

Save Waste Fats for Explosives

And this is why Hattie and Will sent their lard to the Whiting Store, and why they received one dozen eggs—and “Tomatoes (Fresh)”—in return. Read her full diary entry below.

Sept 14, 1945

Don’t forget to read all of the posts in the #30PostsHathSept Blogging Challenge!


3 thoughts on “This Scarcity of Fats: The jar of cooking fat beside the stove

  1. My mom had this container next to the stove for years, too. Up through the 1980s! I remember there were two parts to the fat can: the reservoir below and a strainer on top to separate out the bits of meat or crunchy fragments of fried egg that would otherwise contaminate the bacon grease.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: