Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How You Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm After They've Seen The White House

"what can we say/it's family..."--Jill Scott

My grandmother, Gwendolyn Mae aka Grandmommy, was the best cook I have ever known. She loved cooking more than anything, and the praise she earned from it was her life's bread. Everyone who ever tasted her food marveled at her talent and once in her home, people ate until they were sick. That said, it would probably disturb a whole lot of those folks 
unacquainted with the ways of true, down home southern cooking--especially the occasional vegetarians that passed through her home-- if they knew that my grandmother used bacon grease in just about everything, from cornbread to greens to spaghetti to fried chicken to beef pot roast. Some people believe in garlic; some people believe in cayenne pepper. My grandmother believed in bacon grease. In fact, she began most days with coffee and several pieces of bacon. Not so much because she craved it, but because she was wholly dedicated to having a full 32 oz. cup of relatively fresh bacon grease at her disposal at all times. When you cooked on my grandmother's stove, you knew to either move or be careful not to disturb the aluminum foil-covered mug of bacon grease, because it would be your tail if something happened to it. So it came as a surprise to no one in our family that she was nearly detained at the airport on her way to Los Angeles during the holidays in 2004 for trying to smuggle bacon grease onto an airplane. 9/11 be damned, my grandmother had a huge Christmas dinner to make and no time to recreate her stash by making ten packages of bacon in an unfamiliar kitchen. Needless to say, TSA was befuddled.

Well, they might be looking at a similar bemusement later this week as President-elect Obama's grandmother, Sarah Obama, prepares to hop on a flight from Kenya to DC for his Inauguration, trying to haul a spear along for the ride. Granted, it's a traditional spear and shield from the tribe of his family, and granted, it's a lovely gesture. I hope he might even find a special mounting place for it in the Oval Office to keep him honest. But I could not help but be reminded of Gwen when I read the quote from Grandma O: "But I have been told that due to security reasons I will not be allowed to board a plane with it." Ya think??

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