Southern Food Profile: Lard

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“Lard gets a bad rap, but in the right proportions adds a delicious layer of flavor and texture. Bill Neal once told me, “I am not saying ‘you shouldn’t’—I’m saying ‘don’t ever’ make biscuits or piecrust without lard. It’s just a waste of time.” The irony here is that lard really began its trip into ingredient obscurity about 40 years ago with the misconceptions passed around that pork was bad or unhealthy. It became a victim of the marketing of the hydrogenated vegetable shortenings, like Crisco, that allegedly lowered the risk of heart disease. Science has proven in recent years how incorrect and, actually, opposite that is. So while the pig is exalted, lard still languishes in disdain on the culinary blacklist.

Natural lard is a completely naturally occurring fat and has fewer calories and a cleaner fat content than butter, containing less nonfat solids. Do not confuse with shelf-stable lard, which is not terrible, but not as good for you as natural lard, which must be refrigerated. There are no trans fats in lard since it is a natural fat, and it is very high in omega 3 fatty acids. Studies indicate that it is no more responsible for raising LDL cholesterol than any other fat and will actually help raise HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.

So get with the program, get over the stigma, and buy a little bucket of lard next time you are at the store. You’ll be happy you did, and your stuff will start tasting a lot more “like your grandmother used to make it.”
~ Chef John Currence, from “Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey”

#JohnCurrence #Lard #SouthernCooking

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