Friday, February 8, 2008

Discussion Questions Chapters 9-11

1. Why do you think the author chose the title? Is there a significant meaning behind it?

2. What is your favorite passage read this week and why?

Feel free to comment on anything from the book.


  1. I would really like to read others thoughts and comments on this book; where are they to be found? Thanks Gill.

  2. Gill please see the "Blog Archive" on the right side bar on the "Blogger Book Club" page.

    Click on January's drop down arrow where you will find heading for the previous chapters discussion questions.

    Great question Gill. If you are not able to locate it just let me know.

  3. I liked the chapter on soups...& what a timely read it was! To me, soup is the ultimate comfort food, & I do serve them a lot. No complaints from the family either, though each person has his or her favorite. But one thing I didn't think of was serving a clear, thin soup, to precede the other food. I just might give that a try, & see if it satisfies enough, so that less of the 'main course' is wanted.

    I think I probably liked best the section on fats. I save my bacon fat, clarify it periodically, & keep it in the refrigerator. I have never had a problem with its going rancid. For us, there is nothing like the taste of potatoes fried in bacon fat. Yum!

    I have never rendered my own animal fat, but I guess it's not that hard to do. The only butchering we do is when my husband hunts deer, & I'm not sure venison fat would be the most desirable! Butter?...the best thing ever to be paired with a slice of hot toast! I have tasted some very good margarines, & have made extended butter (I got the recipe from Tammy's, but real butter is simply the best. I grew up in Wisconsin, & at that time the only way you could get margarine was to drive to Illinois for it. Once it became available in our own state, it was all my mother bought, because it was cheaper, but she went back to butter many years later, as finances improved.

    It's interesting to me to see that overall priciples of thrift have not changed over the years, just the application of them. "A penny saved is (still!) a penny earned", but we have different places to cut corners in our households, & different methods of applying what we learn.


  4. Brenda I also enjoyed the chapter on soups. I will be incorporating clear soups into my meals as well.

    When I go to Asian resturaunts I am often served a clear soup such as ginger and onion, which is delicious. I would love to find some recipes to try here at my home.

    I don't eat bacon anymore, but would sausage grease count?...I wonder. I'll give it a try.

    Thank you for commenting Brenda. I really enjoy hearing what others are gleaning from the reading.

  5. I'm true grits (girl raised in the South). My mom -- like most Southern women -- deep fried at least a few items in her repertoire of recipes. She saved and re-used bacon grease when making items such as cornbread, etc. We even ate cracking bread, when I was young. Mom had a small canister that was built especially to strain cooking grease for further use. When you took off the top lid, you saw a strainer basket which caught crumbs and bits of food. If you lifted out the strainer basket, there was a source of re-usable bacon grease. Mom also used lard at times. (My dad remembers the days when his mother had to use the little bottle of coloring that came with oleo.) Also, when I was little, it seemed like every recipe in cookbooks began with "melt a stick of butter" or "measure out a cup of lard".

    But, my parents changed their eating style as medical advice about a healthy diet changed. I, too, have gone in the total opposite direction of the advice in this chapter, based on what we hear today. I've worked hard to get heavy fats and oleos with trans-fats out of my cooking. I never deep fry. I quit buying lard over twenty years ago.

    I do save the water that meat was cooked in as a broth flavoring, but I skim off the layer of fat that forms at the top and throw that away, while saving the de-fatted broth. I seldom cook with real bacon, and, when I do, I throw the grease away. I use olive and other lighter oils, along with tiny amounts of real butter. I also use the especially made margarines that are supposed to have a good omega fats ratio and no trans-fats.

    The only thing I do that is in accord with this chapter is that I do have one cast-iron skillet, which I will leave coated with a little bit of cooking oil from one meal to the next.

    Back in my great-grandparents and grandparents day, when this book was written, people were not as sedentary as they are now. Since people had fewer labor-saving devices in the home, even those who lived in the city burned up more fat and calories doing chores. If you go back even a little further, houses were draftier, and people burned up more energy just to maintain normal body heat. Plus, people were more susceptible to fevers, which used energy.

    From a study I read, the only people who seem to thrive on the old-fashioned American diet are the Amish. The conclusion was that if you want to eat like the Amish, you have to work like the Amish. Few of us live such labor-intensive lives nowadays, even if we live on farms.

    So, I'm not sure how to apply this chapter's advice to today, when it seems our bodies cannot handle this heavy fat. What do y'all think?

  6. Elizabeth...In response to your comments regarding the use of fats in todays kitchens, I totally agree that the fats are not nurned off as easily because of the less physically demanding work that we do today.

    Also, aboutthe oil can with the strainer that you were referring to, my MIL owns one that she bought at a yard sale. She said that her mother had one like it.

    I would love to get one for myself since I do reuse the oil from fried chicken and french fries.

    I also enjoyed the chapter on soups. Reading it has led me to stop throwing away the last few tablespoons of leftover gravys and mashed potatoes. I have began saving them in the freezer to add to soups and as gravy thickeners.

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Though I'm not sure about the chapter on fat, I'm still greatly enjoying the other chapters, as much of the advice in the book is timeless. And, who knows? Maybe docs will change their minds again about what's good for us in the fat department one day.


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