Butter is good. We know that. (If you find someone who doesn’t, fry them an egg in butter, make a Victoria sponge, or spread the yellow stuff thickly across a hot crumpet.)
But as irreplaceable as butter is in our hearts and arteries, it is not the only fat. And, in the spirit of the current brand of revivalism spreading across the media and restaurants alike, I bring you another old-fashioned joy: dripping.
If you’re a youngster of less than about forty, the chances are that dripping never passed your lips during your childhood. But toast without dripping? For the wealth of other experiences you may have had instead, you really haven’t lived.
A couple of weekends ago, we had a friend to stay. Since I’d planned a fulsome dinner for the evening, I offered some commensurately lighter food choices for lunch. Until, that is, looking into the fridge, I spied the dripping. ‘Or,’ I said, a little tentatively, knowing how some folk baulk at the mere mention of fat, ‘we have some beef dripping. Do you fancy toast and dripping at all?’
Her eyes widened like a small child’s on Christmas morning. ‘Dripping?’ she murmured, as if in a reverie, ‘I haven’t had dripping for years. Yes, please!’
Why did we ever fall out of love with dripping? Whatever the reasons, it is a food for today’s reined-in times – frugal (being the free by-product of a roast dinner), full of flavour, and nourishing (so long as you don’t overdo it – moderation, as they say, in everything).
On warm toast, melting into glistening puddles of meatiness, it is a winter snack with few equals.