Rendered Fat Content


Edward Penfield:
Will You Help the Women of France? (1917)
Printed by W. F. Powers Company Lithographers
published by United States Food Administration

"We're still praying and waiting …"

Ten days after Thanksgiving, Tetrazzini season settles in for a short visit. The turkey's tailpiece remains, the so-called Bishop's Nose, along with an odd wing and a piece of that greasy meat that once covered ribs; little else besides bone. These pieces, proven poor sandwich material, ache to become stock, their last chance to become anything useful on their way out of this world. Half the leftover meat disappeared over Thanksgiving night at the hands of what I suspect to have been a raccoon sauntering through our walk-out refrigerator, also known as the back deck. I'd used Zip-lock® bags to secure the goodies and the raccoon apparently carried a switchblade—we all know they all do— which made short work of my weak defense. The remaining bag contained the more marginal pieces, greasy and barely edible even when amply disguised with The Muse's housemade cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, and thick slices of Swiss cheese. I, too, was aching to render that meat into stock.

The Muse continues recovering from her radiation treatments.
Overall, she loudly claims to feel "fucking fantastic," but that's a relative assessment. Yes, she's clearly getting stronger every day. Her voice has largely returned to normal, though it remains tender and not yet able to produce a two hour barn burner sermon at top volume. Her tastebuds remain AWOL, rendering most foods distasteful, or they would be distasteful if she could taste anything besides cardboard or nothingness. She insists that the nothingness is worse. Notably missing: her taste for sweet, which cannot be requited by any substitute. Sweet apple still crunches right but its flavor seems unpalatable. She's advanced to salads, though not yet to oil and vinegar, which feels too raw on her throat. Bitter greens register as edible, creamy dressings preferable.

Half a leftover chicken cleaned from the bone produced a chicken carcass which joined the turkey in the stock pot. My objective would be a modest Tetrazzini, egg noodles improved with a Velo
úte with Chestnut flour and peas with some melted cheese, nothing fancy. I set the noodle water to boiling and started the stock pot, neither pots consenting to boiling, probably because I was watching them too closely. I'd also started them too early. Ill at ease, The Emotional Support Animal was operating stealthily. He'd come to concoct suppers earlier. It seemed that our usual eight o'clock had become too tardy an hour to attempt a feeding. Almost everything had achieved no better than a lukewarm reception, with often only one of three of the offerings passing muster, with always the same justification. Such and so was inedible. There was really no way that either of us could know beforehand what might pass muster. Usually a more enthusiastic cook, I'd grown emotionally distant from my stovetop, and a little sullen.

I expected little different from the Tetrazzini round. I had advertised my intention and The Muse and I had helped each other remember to find the egg noodles and the peas when we passed through the grocery. The stock pot finally consented to simmer which meant that it would want some alone time to consider its afterlife. I went to sit in the front window and try to coax a cat onto my lap. The Muse had been sequestered all afternoon doing accounting for a nonprofit for which she serves as treasurer. She's back to maintaining office hours.

The throat cancer had rendered The Muse into a cautious eater. If supper had ever been a race, she would have always taken the crown, for she can definitely chow down. I might look up from my first trial taste to catch her swamping up the last morsels of her entire supper, though she only rarely ever produced the discomfiting whoosh one might expect from such a performance. The cancer had made her more a cautious, tenuous trencher, so I felt surprised when I caught her finishing just about the time I had gotten enough traction for a decent beginning. She'd gone back for Seconds before I'd completed my first. The Tretrazzini worked! Not only had I properly disposed of the turkey carcass, but I'd also somehow managed to produce the first supper in at least six weeks where The Muse sought Seconds! We're still praying and waiting, though, for her sweet-tasting taste buds to reawaken.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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