Sunday, June 07, 2009

Grandma May Have Had it Right: Lard Returns to Favor

Slate Magazine recently published its Food Issue. Among an interesting collection of articles, is
Lard: After Decades Of Trying, Its Moment Is Finally Here, by Regina Schrambling.

The article points out that lard's fat is also mostly monounsaturated, has a higher smoking point than other fats, causing food to absorb less grease when fried in it, and it is minimally processed. Paraphrasing Michael Pollan’s mantra, “your great-grandmother surely cooked with it, so you should, too.”

And, the article notes, "add to that the new awareness that what you eat matters environmentally—if you are going to eat an animal on a planet at risk from too many humans raising too many animals to eat, you have to eat the whole thing. Lard is just about the last stop before the squeal when pork producers are extracting every savory bit from a pig."

Don't buy lard at the grocery store, though, as it is is likely to be hydrogenated. Try the farmers market or a specialty meat store.

My family's pie crust recipe always called for lard. Like many of my generation, I wrongly rejected that as unhealthy. However, the shortening that we switched to was full of trans-fats. And, my pie crust, not made with lard never tasted so good.

Rhubbarb is great on the farm this time of year, a plant that grandpa used to affectionately call the "pie plant." Maybe I'll just have to give it another try. . .