There’s a secret Shreeves family recipe that calls for lard. The few times I’ve gone to the grocery store to buy it, it’s been difficult to find. It gets moved, and it takes a store employee a while to track it down for me. I always get this odd look from the employee that lets me know she’s thinking, “What does this crazy woman want with lard anyway? It’s disgusting.” Lard, it seemed, had become an obscene word in the food world.
It may not be so difficult to find next time I need it, though, because lard is making a comeback. It’s all natural, and the resurgence of cooking and baking with real ingredients is making it acceptable to cook with lard. It’s no longer considered a dirty word. If you’re curious why cooks are welcoming this fat back into their kitchens, grab a cup of coffee and read all about it.
NPR asks the question “Who Killed Lard?” and their answer isn’t very surprising. Marketers killed lard. If you want to know what company’s marketers gave lard a bad name, you’ll have to click through.
The reports of lard’s death, so says Gourmet Live, are actually premature. The piece says that “sourced properly (ideally from a farmers’ market), or made from scratch, lard is the ultimate natural food,” and goes on to name several restaurants and bakeries that are using the rendered pig fat on a regular basis.
A 64-year-old sealed can of lard was recently opened by food safety experts and deemed safe to consume. The story from Huffington Post is interesting, and the comments from readers after the story show just how vile some people think lard is while others swear it’s the only thing to fry things in.
If you think perhaps you’d like to give lard a shot, a great place to start is with piecrust. People who use lard in their piecrust swear by it. Boston Herald has a recipe for piecrust made with lard to start with.
Enjoy your weekend!
Image: Matt Callow