There’s no other cooking fat that makes delicious home fries like lard does. Back in the day, lard was a household staple, but with the (unjustified) vilification of saturated animal fats, lard fell out of favor. Now we know eating lard won’t cause you to immediately drop dead of a heart attack; in fact, it’s healthier than eating trans fats, like margarine.
Lard makes the home fries perfectly crispy on the outside and soft inside. A dollop of lard in slow cooker beans imparts a bit of flavor – assuming you don’t have a ham hock handy to toss in – and slight creaminess. Lard also makes lovely, fluffy biscuits or dumplings for chicken and dumplings. Some people even eat it on toast!
We believe, out of respect for the animal we eat, that we should use as much of it as possible. Pork fat – and every pig has some – is rendered into lard, which is solid at room temperature and looks like shortening. Use it like shortening and in place of shortening.
Lard is a truly natural product, unlike the hydrogenated oil used in margarine. We buy organic lard online and pastured lard from a food co-op about an hour away. The lard available at local grocery stores contains additives and preservatives, like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and propyl gallate. Both substances are classified by the FDA as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS), even though they have been associated with health issues like tumors and endocrine problems. Learn more about these preservatives at the Environmental Working Group’s website: http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives/generally-recognized-as-safe-but-is-it.
Lard: try it. You’ll wonder why you waited so long.