Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cooking with Lard (Bacon Fat)

From what I've read in Michael Pollen's book, "In the Defense of Food," and Sally Fallon's book, "Nourishing Traditions," among others, the main point that I am hearing over and over is to eat like we did before huge processing plants started making our food. For example, stop eating Cheese Puffs and go back to eating nutritious lard!

Politically Correct Nutrition is based on the assumption that we should reduce our intake of fats, particularly saturated fats from animal sources. Fats from animal sources also contain cholesterol, presented as the twin villain of the civilized diet. (Fallon)

My breast milk contains more cholesterol than almost any other food. It also contains over 50 percent of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat. And remember that in earlier days, woman breastfed their children until they were much older. Nature seems to think that both cholesterol and saturated fat are essential for growth in babies and children.

There are recent studies coming out to contradict the whole gag reflex when it comes to lard and other fats, read In the "Defense of Food" for more information. We just need to remember to eat it in real food not junk food. This isn't a free ticket to pig out on Snicker Bars.

Lard contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids plus Vitamin D. If Mikey doesn't want to eat meat and only wants his bread, I dip his bread in the meat drippings and he's getting a ton of vital nutrients without eating the meat. It's a win, win!

So, how do I cook with lard? There's a way to preserve lard for storing beyond under the sink, read here. Personally, I haven't made that jump yet but I have changed the way that I think about lard and use it to my advantage. Cooking with bacon fat only needs a slight change in the cooking process. It just means that when I am cooking bacon, I use the bacon fat instead of another choice of oil from the pantry like olive oil, butter, or coconut oil.

When I cook bacon like I did for my family's pizza lunch today, I use a tablespoon of the bacon fat for the onions and another tablespoon for the greens. So the idea is that since I am cooking bacon and it is producing a natural cooking oil while it cooks, I don't need to use my other oils.

First, I stick the bacon in a pan to pan fry it. Then I chop the onions and wash and chop the greens. By now there's some grease in the pan from the bacon, and so I can use a tablespoon to cook the onions and greens in a separate fry pan. I cook the onions for about five minutes and then add the greens. I season the greens with a little more bacon fat and cook until wilted. Then I add them to the pizza.

I discard the rest of the bacon fat into a jar under the sink to later toss in the trash. From my readings, meat fat goes rancid so I'll make sure to store it the right way if I want to start saving it for a later date. I also don't put bacon juice down the kitchen sink because it could harden in the pipes.

1 Comment:

quatrepattes said...

Here in France you can buy goose, duck and pig fat by the jar in the meat section of every supermarket. It is just something the French always cook with. Since I too follow Nourishing Traditions and the WAP diet, I use either goose fat or butter to cook with exclusively.
Any oil that is liquid at room temperature goes rancid very quickly, especially if it is highly processed, so I stay away from them, and just use a very expensive olive oil on salads once in a while.
I cook breakfast every morning for my family, that includes chips (fries) cooked in goose fat and scrambled eggs cooked in butter and celtic sea salt - yum!

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