The pan was used extensively at our house when we were young.
There were ten children, two parents and one granny to be catered for and my mother was the chief cook. The only time the pan was not used was when we had a roast or stew for dinner but even so the pan came out on Monday and the remains of the Sunday roast was cut into slices and fried on the pan along with the remains of the vegetables.
Tuesday’s dinner was usually mincemeat made into patties, fried on the pan, removed and beans added to the grease and fried. Delicious!
Wednesday was rashers and sausages with green peas added.
Thursday was pork day. If it wasn’t pork fillet then it was pork chops. All finished off with a liberal helping of beans, or sometimes beans and green peas together. Beautiful!
Friday was fish and chips day. The potatoes were peeled and sliced and put into the chip-pan which usually contained a pound or two of lard.
That was another item that was used extensively: ‘lard.’ It was always put on the pan to give the food that extra taste.
Saturday was stew day and Saturday night was frying night.
Those dinners and their days seldom ever varied. Everyone knew what day of the week it was by the dinner on the table. Mum tried to change it every once in a while but had to give up what with the chorus of disapproval from her children, and our Dad, and had to revert to the old routine. Even as time went on and the children left home, the dinners seldom varied.
That was until the day Mum was watching a health programme on television and the presenter said that frying, lard and anything to do with them was bad for you. The only healthy way to cook meats was to grill them. So Mum, who was now in her seventies, decided that grilling was the new way for her.
The day she picked to start her new healthy eating was a Thursday.
The potatoes were put in the pot and boiled while the beans were put in another pot to be heated. The pork chops were put under the grill. My brother Frank watched as Mum kept checking to make sure that they were done properly. When she was quite sure they were ready she put the plates out, put the potatoes and the beans on them and lastly put the grilled chops on them. She surveyed the dinners, thought for a minute, and without further ado lifted the grill pan and poured the grease from the chops over the dinners. Satisfied she put the dinners out on the table.
Frank asked her, ‘Mum are you not defeating the whole purpose of grilling?’
Mum replied, ‘ Och, shure what’s a dinner without some grease?’
The next day the pan was back! But without the lard!