Lost: Lard

As promised, this Monday’s post continues Friday’s Fatty theme, and today, we’ll explore Lard.

Lard gets a bad rap. And while its true you can eat too much of any kind of fat, many of us fear fat unnecessarily, as I alluded to in Friday’s post.

Traditional fats and foods were studied by dentist Weston A Price, and the results continue to astound people. Controversial, to say the least, but when you examine the foundational study (published in 1953) that declared saturated fat to be a villain, you’ll see, as other researchers have, that the logic is flimsy at best, flawed at worst. (Conspiracy theory, anyone? Bueller?) You can dwell on the controversy here, and here, or just enjoy the fatty slide show at the bottom of the screen.  Depends on how much you want your thinking challenged this early on a Monday morning.

But now, the story of my happy pig. This past fall, our family had the opportunity to purchase a whole hog, organic, pasture-raised (YESSS) with two other families. I opted to receive the fat as well – so I could render lard. It came in three humungous bags, all ground up, which was nice and would save me time. One of the families didn’t want their share of fat, so I have one bag still left in the freezer! Suh-weet!

I came across this idea of rendering lard on another blog, which led to a search on several other blogs for the method I wanted to go with (sound familiar? I hope on the computer to do one thing, and …..3 hours later….) I settled on the Simple,Green, Frugal Co-op site  post, as it had the most detailed instructions, and I remain pleased with the results – the method worked out great! Read the post, then enjoy my Lardshow, which is like a slideshow, only all the slides contain something lard-related:  You’ll see the whole frozen fat, the fat in the crockpot, the honey-colored warm lard right after I strained it in a flour sack dishtowel, the “cracklins” (more on that in a post soon!),  the finished white solid lard, and the first delicious pie crust I made! I keep the jars in the freezer until I’m ready to use them. Then, I move the jar to the fridge, and just work away at it.

Embrace the fat. Yum! Yea, verily.

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Lost: Fat

“Just the fats, Ma’am.”

“Fat-tastic”

“Fun with our favorite fats”

…Those were some of the rejected titles of this first post in a succession of fatty posts. But, in keeping with my original thoughts with this blog – to reconsider knowledge lost to us, to discover and find new food sources, and to keep it local – I decided to make sure you would be intrigued enough to read more.

Do I still have you? Maybe this picture will help.

Here we have, from L to R:  Natural expeller-pressed grapeseed oil, real butter, olive oil, beef tallow, chicken fat (or schmaltz) and pork lard. The last three I “made” myself, with a liiiiittle help from animals of  course. Local, organically and humanely raised animals, I might add. These are the current fats in my kitchen, and I use them for baking, sauteeing, putting on toast, and to grease the odd muffin tin.

Are you afraid of fats? I hope that by reading my “Lost” posts on the subject you’ll lose a little fear, and get into using real fat. Its way healthier for you. Seriously.

Look for the first installment next week on Monday.

In the meantime, consider your current relationship with fat. Do you fear it, or embrace it – in your cooking?