Dripping: The food 'waste' that we used to relish

"The rich creaminess inspired memories of that family meal."

“Dripping and fat” can conjure up thoughts of disgust, obesity and frugality.

However, it was very common to use dripping, at the time of WW2.

My parents emigrated from England to Australia, following the war, “for a better life” with their two young daughters.

With them, they also brought their past learnings of rationing, re-using and repairing. Life had been tough, and the attitude of ‘waste not, want not’ came with them, and a ‘make-do’ philosophy.

We girls grew up with English breakfasts, including bacon, lamb’s fry, brains, kidneys and fried bread. We also grew up with dripping, no questions asked.

Ad. Article continues below.

My mother used to save the juices from each Sunday’s roast meat, pouring the steaming liquid into a cup – always one with a broken handle or chipped rim.

When it had cooled, she scooped off the top layer, whitish and semi-solid, and used it to start off new roast dinners, make Yorkshire puddings or crispy baked potatoes. After that meal, the process would be repeated, and the dripping therefore was used several times.

Somehow she remembered which cup held which meals’ dripping, using the oldest sludge first: that in the blue-striped mug or the white cup with hydrangeas.

We had dripping on toast, and dripping in sandwiches taken to school, with the lingering taste of the Sunday roast. The rich creaminess inspired memories of that family meal.

Rusty opaque colour indicated to my mother that it was time to throw that dripping away ( or offer it to Dad to rub over his work boots).

Ad. Article continues below.

The same practice of cooking with dripping is now apparently being used by some Michelin chefs, who purposely use the residual fats and juices for flavour: baked potatoes, fried fish and chips. They are using in-house dripping made by slow-roasting meats, and storing the rendered fats.

Apparently, hot sourdough bread, spread with dripping and a sprinkling of sea-salt, is a must-try.

Maybe I should revisit this nostalgic process, thus saving money, adding flavour and using more goodness of the meat already enjoyed.

But first, I will search antique shops for some smart little containers.

Do you remember keeping and reusing the dripping from roasts?