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Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by scotrace, Jul 24, 2016.
The next time you bake potatoes slather them with bacon grease first...
I was reminded of this thread by something mentioned on another website: egg cartons!
The other website had a photo of someone returning empty egg cartons. A girlfriend of mine in a former life even said that egg cartons seemed like something you should save. We never did when I was little but we managed without a lot of the little things considered essential today, including lots of money. Bread came in plastic bags (and it was already sliced, too) but I have no memory of plastic bags being used for anything else. Of course, I've already mentioned how suspect my memory can be sometimes. But if you got something dry-cleaned, it came back on a hanger covered with a paper slipcover instead of plastic. If you got shirts done, they were folded around a piece of thin cardboard and wrapped in brown wrapping paper. You carried you groceries home in paper bags and sometimes, the store had a supply of empty cardboard boxes up front to put things in. Everything from all the other stores was put in a paper bag (or "poke"), too. I understand a paper bag is called a sack in some places where the vocabulary is a little different.
At home, the empty shopping bags from the supermarket was used to line the trash can. We didn't save empty cans, although my later father-in-law did. I hesitate to admit the things we save at home now but most of them are of plastic, I'm afraid. In modern times, the appearance of the standard cardboard box that copy paper comes in has made home storage easier and since they're free, they're even cheaper than the big plastic storage bins that are sold in the big box stores. Where else would you buy big boxes?
But we don't save egg cartons.
At our local co-op, they take returns of egg cartons, but only the pressed-pulp ones.
Plastic bread bags are used as liners for winter boots. Put one over each foot, secure the top with a rubber band, and then put your boots on. Keeps your feet dry, in theory.
Bread bags are also good for getting your boots on if they're a little tight. Put your foot in the bag, then slide your foot into your boot. It'll slide down nice and easy. Then pull the bag off your foot and out the boot. One time use, but effective.
I did that as a kid with those insanely hard to put on "over your shoes" rubber galoshes (big, black, boxy with clumsy metal clasps) - very effective. The only difference is I used the plastic bags you'd put produce in at the grocery store (don't remember using bread bags).
Whenever I have a container of bacon grease collected from frying bacon, I simply use it for cooking the same way I would with other fats and oils, though I will usually cut it with olive oil. It's really good to cook popcorn this way. I don't think I would use bacon grease for cooking a dessert dish, though.
We save some of our empty paper egg cartons for our uncle as they sell eggs.
Our one year old likes to stomp them otherwise. It gives him a good 45 minutes of fun, so it's worth it.
Someone told me that egg cartons were one of those things you should save but we don't. We also don't accumulate bacon grease or any "drippings," in spite of all the recipes that call for one or the other. We don't eat bacon--not real bacon, that is, but not for any particular reason. About the only things we fry are eggs and bread, the bread being in the form of French toast or bannock. But we sure have a good stash of plastic bags of all sizes.
Every time I see the title of this thread, I think it should be the title of a song recorded by the Hoosier Hot Shots in 1937.
Plastic grocery bags have one vital redeeming purpose -- they are irreplaceable for cleaning the congealed gobs of cat pee out of the litter box. Paper bags soak thru and the contents fall on the kitchen floor before you can make it to the garbage can.
Are you ready yet, Hezzie, er, uh, Lizzie?
I like to use plastic bags to line small garbage cans at home. A couple of major cities in my area have bans on plastic bags at retail stores. You can imagine how practical it is to walk down the street with a paper bag full of stuff and have the bag get soaked and fall apart during the 11 months out of the year when it rains here.
We actually use most of our plastic bags for garbage. When I see them starting to pile up (we have two fabric homemade plastic bag holders) I take the re-usable bags. Once we can compost again we will make much less trash. (And once the youngest is out of diapers- we use cloth until age one but because of our hard water it becomes impractical and we use disposables).
That potato jam sounds really interesting.
New York City tried to pass the same law and - THANKFULLY - it got shot down by the state legislature. For all the reasons mentioned in this thread - like yours about reliability in bad weather to others who, like us, reuse them for, at minimum, garbage bags, getting rid of them will just make our life more complicated and expensive.
We'd have to figure out how to get groceries home (we don't always know we're going to a store when we're out so carrying a bag to the store is not practical and, as you note, paper has its limitations especially in a walking city like NYC) and we'd end up just buying plastic bags to use for garbage so no save for the environment anyway.
NYC's legislature debated and worked on this bill for years - my God, are there no other more-pressing needs in this city of 10 or so million that seems to have, IMHO, some real problems that our elected officials have the time to spend years debating and writing laws about plastic bag use.
Some of the states in Australia have bans on plastic bags , you have to pay for them if you want them. There was recently a campaign by a tv show to ban plastic bags here, but I bought a bin specifically sized to suit them and nowadays you have to double up the bags in the bin, because they make them so thin, so I'm just going to have to buy plastic bags if they ban them. I have three council bins, one for recyclables like paper , metals and plastics, and one for green waste, garden clippings and vegetable matter, they get emptied every fortnight and a small bin for whatever is non recyclable that gets emptied weekly.
"There are eight million stories in the naked city..."
And this one is about plastic bags.
Bacon grease. Decades ago, during college, I once had a year 'round caretaker job at a summer camp in the San Bernardino mountains. The job came with a place to stay: a small cabin in the woods. One night I thought --as a young single male does-- that for dinner I'd fry up a big skillet of bacon and wash it down with a couple of cheap beers. Meister Brau, as I recall. Anyway, after dinner, I had to do something with the grease. Looking for easy solutions that require little work --as a young single male does-- I decided that I'd simply dump the grease in the forest around my cabin. Oye! That night I was visited by a pack of coyotes that spent the entire night yipping and yapping and snapping at each other right outside my cabin. I got very little sleep that night. I'd say "live and learn", except that I've never again lived in the woods and therefore never thereafter benefitted from my learned wisdom.
I grew up in Tennessee, and learnt to save bacon grease from my grandmother. It was used in all sorts of recipes, and I still do that today. A lot of my stepfather's Maltese cooking calls for bacon in some form as well thanks to the heavy British influence on the island, so I use that to cook the onions & garlic for a lot of the recipes he taught me. Bacon has so many uses and provides a lot of different things for a good cook--grease for cooking, tasty meat for a sandwich or snack, and crumbly bits to make other recipes taste great.
Used cooking fat, both from the deep fryer and from drippings, is collected from restaurants and recycled. But I have no idea what it is recycled into and what it's used for after that.
I don't have any idea what all of it goes for, but some is used as fuel for diesel engines. It generally smells strongly of french fries when you run onto one fueled in this way.