If I have anything to say about it, LARD will be on the menu at the Stout house. Two articles for your perusal:
In Praise of Lard is a wonderful short essay from Jeffery Tucker of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. In this short little work, Mr. Tucker puts a well greased skewer through our trust in government and conventional wisdom.
What I do find interesting is that the campaign against lard began during and after World War II, when lard was put on the list of rationed items in the United States and England. Every government intervention is an opportunity for some private company to come along with some substitute. Sure enough, this was when margarine and shortening began to be pushed on the American diet. Somehow, butter made a solid comeback many decades later. But lard somehow never did. I can only credit a very effective marketing campaign by the shortening producers.
Are we going to let government’s wartime central planners control our lives 70 years after the fact? I don’t think so. Not in my case anyway, regardless of what my fellow shoppers say. Sometimes embracing a life of freedom involves taking risks and paying the price. You can have my lard when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.
In Lard, The New Health Food the folks at FoodandWine.com give a more gastronomical treatment of the much despised and little understood filler of the Fry Daddy.
We’d thought lard would encase and entomb food—maybe because at room temperature it looks like face cream—but it is a fat of rare finesse. Extra-virgin olive oil is more versatile—hog-fat vinaigrette probably won’t be coming to a trattoria near you—yet I generally find it too assertive for frying. (“Pure” olive oil has a more neutral flavor and is cheaper, too.) Corn and soybean oils (these days, most bottles marked “vegetable oil” contain soy) perform well at the higher temperatures used for frying, but they also leave an unpleasant tacky residue in the mouth, like wet paint. Not lard. At 350 degrees it forms a crust that shatters with satisfying ease; my disastrous french fries came out like potato sticks, but they were potato sticks that met your teeth with a memorable snap. After hanging out in your mouth for a minute, though, a lard-fried crust becomes soft and creamy, as voluptuous as a Rubens nude but not as heavy. All my kitchen slipups didn’t stop me from recognizing that lard is the most elegant fat I’ve ever met. Even the absence of pork flavor, which at first struck me as a flaw, only made lard seem more delicate and refined.
Who would like to come over to Stout’s for a fried chicken taste-off? We could cook one batch in Mary’s traditional vegetable oil and the other in lard to see which one we like better.
One side note: One of our blog proprietors, Rev. Rob Hadding, is a big fan of Popeyes’ Red Beans and Rice. I now know why they are just sooooo tasty:
RED BEANS SAUCE: WATER, PORK FAT [CURED WITH WATER, SALT, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVORS (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL AND NATURAL WOOD SMOKE FLAVORS), SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SUGAR, BROWN SUGAR, SODIUM NITRITE], RED KIDNEY BEANS, RED BEAN SEASONING MIX (DRIED ONIONS, SALT, SPICES INCLUDING PAPRIKA AND PARSLEY, DRIED GARLIC, AND MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE]. MAY CONTAIN MODIFIED FOOD STARCH. CONTAINS: SOYBEAN OIL, MSG
That “Pork Fat” listed as the second ingredient? You guessed it, lard.