Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Canning

I just read an intriguing post from I'm Not Rosie over at The Absence of Alternatives, all about bacon vodka. The photos of the bacon marinating in glass jars puts me in mind of something from the annals of exceptional relatives, circa 1975.

It is a hot September afternoon. Four children sit on the front steps of a modest aqua-coloured suburban bungalow, contemplating the murder of many caterpillars, when a Canada Post truck pulls up. (Except they didn't call it Canada Post back then, it was something like "Earl's Very Reliable Caribou Express.") (Moving on. . . . )

The nice postman lugs two heavy boxes sent from my aunt in a faraway province. This lovely woman may or may not like to hit the sauce every once in a while. It depends who you ask. If you ask the people who live in her town, they'll bounce their heads up and down rapidly, indicating a strong affirmative. If you ask my mother, she'll knit her brows and waggle a finger. "Don't be vulgar," you will be warned sternly. Later, you will grow to realize that "vulgar" here is another way of saying "we do not utter such truths in front of the neighbors."

At any rate, Gem jars of plums, beans, dills emerge gleaming from the first box. Lovely. Mother coos. Can't wait. Yay. Wonderful relatives. Nice, nice Aunty.

But the best part about these particular jars of home canning products--and what distinguishes them from, for example, the jars in the second box--is this: among them there is no chicken face shoved up against the glass, one eye open, one eye shut, beak sort of broken in places, chipped, actually, from the part where Aunt has jammed the entire bird, possibly still living, into a jar, poured hot brine over it, and slapped a lid on it.

Bring on the bacon martini, 35 years too late.


  1. We have a Stainless Steel Diner here with a full bar. Bacon on both menus. Mmmm. Also fabulous is the Mo's Bacon Bar. It is a dark chocolate candy bar with crispy bits of salty, smoky bacon in it. Unbelievably good.

    My grandma pickled her own pigs feet so I feel your pain. And her neighbor kids had their own chicken-wringing business they ran out of their garage. I don't know which was worse: the mess in their garage, or having to eat a chicken that you know had its neck wrung in that garage. It pretty much ruined the fun of running around through the feathers blowing in the wind like snow in August.

  2. You are invited to the launch/tasting party of the bacon vodka. Seriously, you are the only one so far brave enough to not go YEW upon seeing the pictures. btw, love your definition of "vulgar". LOL. Wish my kids were not "vulgar" when it comes to me.