|In low-German, we call this 'grievel' or 'grieven'; in English we say 'crackles'.|
The first time I asked for a translation of something he had said, Papa's ears turned red & he chuckled... As I had walked away I had overheard him say to Mr Shoes, "Schone Beine", which translated to, "Nice legs". Then my ears turned red...
As someone who grew up with absolutely no teaching about group culture or family heritage, I really didn't have an identity other than simply 'white Canadian'. I was curious & willing to learn their ways, to say nothing of being a young woman eager to be accepted & loved by her in-law family. Without any particular discussion or decision to do so, we incorporated many of the Mennonite ways & traditions into our family. I'm very glad that we did, because I think it's been a gift to our children to know their family background & the richness of the history that is their birthright.
Grievel, or crackles, is a Mennonite tradition & a fond breakfast treat, though one that a person either likes or dislikes (that's me, standing here by myself in the dislike category). Grievel is, essentially, the little bits of meat & meat jelly that are the by-products of rendering raw fat.
The other day, after rendering for many hours, I strained the liquid fat through a fine wire sieve (but you could use cheesecloth), & then pressed the crackles firmly to give up as much liquid as possible (which solidifies into precious, snowy white lard). Whatever solids are left after pressing the oil is the crackles.
The crackles themselves still have a fair amount of fat per serving, "but not enough to make a guy's heart explode, so get on with it, Woman!", (as said by Mr Shoes).
For this next part, a small wire sieve is a handy serving tool...
Scoop out approximately 1/2 a cup of grievel into a small saucepan & heat gently until the lard turns back to fat & the crackles are hot through. Using your little wire sieve, scoop up the crackles, then press the back of a spoon firmly into the scoop to press off as much liquid fat as desired.
A usual serving would be 2 pressed scoops of crackles served alongside 1-2 slices of hardy grain bread (such as rye or pumpernickle). Spoon the crackles onto bites of bread, then use the crust to mop up any leavings. This is important in Mennonite culture... masters of 'the clean plate club*'.
Personally, I never developed a taste for grievel - just too greasy for me to enjoy. Mr Shoes & Boot though? They were back & forth from my kitchen, ensuring that I would indeed be saving the crackles for them. And they're welcome to them, family tradition & all.
*Obviously, incorporating Mennonite family traditions is important to Mr Shoes & I, & we (again, obvious) do care about the old ways & values such as using the resources we have (gardens & livestock), & not being wasteful of them. But, I checked out of the 'clean plate club' mentality a long time ago... because I believe that such ridiculous pressure leads to people growing up to have all kinds of 'food issues'.
We chose to raise our children to adhere only to 'food rules' dictated by their own bodies; that is not to say that they ate a ton of candy & ice cream, but rather, that I offered an equal alternative if there was something they did not like (don't like beans? How about some mashed potatoes?) I'm happy to say that both of our grown children are good-looking, healthy, & fit, & (thankfully) free from any food or bullshit body image issues.
And still never a bite need go to waste, though occasionally diverted to feed for pigs or for compost... & so the circle goes.
This is what we chose. That said, I am not offering my opinion as parenting advice (today. Check back another day, you never know when I might be feeling more 'preachy').