Dipping in the Frying Pan


In 1962 I lived with my mum in a small farm cottage in Summerhouse, county Durham. We were poor. The cottage came with the job, along with a meagre wage. Bacon was a luxury, and usually given to us by the farm mum worked for. End pieces that didn’t sell! It was delicious. Mum made it last. When the bacon was gone, she’d save the fat and many days I went to school after a breakfast of stale bread dipped into bacon fat. I didn’t complain, I LOVED it.
When I cook bacon now, I look at the fat left in the pan, and remember.
Mum, wish you were still here!


King Soopers – Shopping in America

Smoked Back Bacon

Sitting here now on my lovely porch with a glass of ice-cold Riesling on the table next to me, listening to humming birds and watching the deer roam close by makes it hard to remember how things were when we first moved to Colorado.
That first day in Denver, or Lakewood, or wherever we were was both exciting and scary. We had left good jobs behind us in England, as well as family and friends. We had taken Joanna out of her first school and away from the only life she knew. It had been a tough couple of months prior to our move because we had to send our furniture a couple of months ahead of time and lived with the bare minimum. It didn’t look like things were going to get much easier any time soon.
We found a supermarket. It was called King Soopers. It was a little different from my usual Sainsbury’s but I could adjust. There were some pretty interesting things in there. I discovered crisps were called potato chips and you couldn’t get prawn cocktail flavor. You could get jars of something that was called cheese dip, which looked nothing like cheese, and you dipped crispy nacho’s in it. I tried to find smoked back bacon, like I bought in England, but to no avail (I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t in England any more). I  settled for something that really had more fat on it than meat (we called this streaky bacon in England, or poor mans bacon). It was either that or a round looking pre-packed bacon which claimed to be Canadian. There was some interesting looking cheese at the delicatessen counter, or deli as they called it here, and meat I had only heard of on television, called pastrami, which I knew went well on rye.
We managed to find enough food to keep us going for a couple of days and wandered around looking at things to familiarize ourselves with American groceries, which were certainly different. Joanna had to try some American sweeties, I can’t remember what she bought, but I remember many of them got thrown away later. It was a process of elimination.
All the time we were walking around this supermarket, I was conscious of the fact that Lester was wearing a bum bag (which I later learned was called a fanny pack over here) with thousands of dollars stashed in it as we hadn’t opened a bank account yet. When we paid for our shopping with that funny American money, we decided to go and find the bank that has been recommended to us. It was called a Credit Union and the directions were marked on the map we were given the night before. We needed to get our money deposited for safety. That is when the fun really began. Just when we thought we were getting along fine, we hit a brick wall……check back in a couple of days to hear about the bank that almost threw us out!