- Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient (from the Editors of GRIT Magazine)
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Original edition (April 10, 2012)
- ISBN-13: 978-1449409746
What the book is about (back-of-the-book blurb): Using lard in cooking dates at least as far back as the 1300s. It is prized by pastry chefs today, and it is an excellent cooking fat because it burns at a very high temperature and tends not to smoke as heavily as many other fats and oils do. Rediscovered along with other healthful animal fats in the 1990s, lard is once again embraced by chefs and enlightened health-care professionals and dietitians.
Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient offers you the opportunity to cook like your grandmother, while incorporating good animal fat into your diet once again. Lard is the key to the wonders that came from Grandma’s kitchen, and with lard, you can serve your family the 150 treats you enjoyed in your younger days when you visited your grandparents’ farm.
What would I say to a friend who asked me about it: Reading Lard was a real education for me! The cookbook – and its claim that lard is a “good” fat, intrigued me … but not enough to actually track down lard (or render my own — there are instructions for rendering lard from the “lard leaf” of pork) and make a recipe.
My first reaction, as I read the cover and opening pages, was, “Oh, this is how Gram used to cook – with lard, and scrapple and Crisco.” You see, I thought lard and Crisco were interchangeable (and, although it pained me to do so, I actually bought a tub of Crisco a few years ago, when I had finally tracked down my grandmother’s recipe for hermits — the results were spectacular).
Turns out – and had I given it any amount of thought, I would have realized – I was wrong. Lard is rendered pork fat; Crisco is hydrogenated vegetable oil (a quick list of ingredients from that tub in my pantry: soybean oil, fully hydrogenated palm oil, partially hydrogenated palm and soybean oils, mono and diglycerides, TBHQ and citric acid). Compare this to the ingredient in lard – pig fat.
The bulk of the book is, of course, recipes; over 150 recipes including vegetable and main dishes, but heavily leaning toward biscuits, breads, cakes, pies, and cookies. Lard is especially favored by bakers for enhanced flavor and texture. There has been a resurgence of lard use by bakers, foodies, and ‘back to the land’ supporters.
Why did I read it: I received Lard for review consideration. I did learn something about lard (and the benefits of cooking with it), but I’m not quite ready to take the plunge.
What else can I add: Lard would be a good fit for a more curious/daring cook, one who wants to make the base product at home, or one who would enjoy the walk down a culinary memory lane (crispy fried chicken, sweet potato fries, cinnamon rolls, flaky biscuits!). Purchase of the cookbook includes a one year subscription to GRIT magazine.
For more Weekend Cooking, visit Beth Fish Reads; you’ll find links to cookbook reviews, recipes from novels, kitchen tips and tricks, maybe even a food-centric movie review.