Yes, the pescetarian is here to discuss lard. One of the things most people do not understand about me and mine is that while we do not eat meat, we believe that those who do should get it organically. I do not mean chi-chi look at me spending $20 a pound meat. I mean, know your farmer. Where we live in NJ, there are quite a few farms that sell their livestock for consumption. If I still ate pork or lamb or beef, you bet your sweet ass I would be going to the local farm for it as opposed to the supermarket.
The one argument I have gotten into with meat eaters is that you should care about what you are eating, regardless if it is a hamburger or swiss chard. Of course this is construed as elitist to some, but tough cookies. Cows that have been raised like they used to be raised, you know, among grass and fresh air, are going to taste a helluva a lot better then cows sitting in a metal building all being pumped full of antibiotics. If this does not faze you, by all means, go with God, but how often do you hear of e coli outbreaks among small farms? Exactly.
Anyway, there is a great blog called Homesick Texan and while a lot of her recipes are meat based, I still love the authenticity. One post she had was about rendering your own lard. To be honest, it was fascinating to read. What was more fascinating were the comments from readers who shared their stories and also how much pork they bought from their butcher.
There is a word you do not hear people use much anymore.
People mentioned how their grandmother's used to render lard and how they wanted to revive the tradition so some folks went to their butcher and got the fat for a small price or free. Some even found a local farm farm that sold shares in pigs and were able to buy their own hog or just purchase the fat to make the lard.
That is absolutely awesome.
Now, regardless of your beliefs. Meat eater, vegetarian, vegan. Part of the end goal should be to get people thinking about where their food comes from and helping them make the right choice. This so-called battle of meat vs no meat is silly. People will eat what they want whether it be processed or non-processed. I think it is better to celebrate those that seek out local foods because you are supporting your own community that way. I am not saying down with the supermarket, but there is more then one way to shop. Not everyone wants to garden or raise live stock so shouldn't the food they choose to buy at least be of excellent quality?
We sort have all fallen under the spell of cheapness. Wal Mart, Old Navy, Dollar Store have ruined us all. Food is not a cheap commodity. Not if you want quality over quantity. Who the hell wants to eat a bland apple or tomato, yet people do all the time. Go to an orchard or farmer's market and you will see what you have been missing on the taste front. I say the same hold true for meats and products like lard. Once you have a properly raised chicken or cow, that plastic package in the frozen section will lose its appeal quickly.
I say give yourself a gift and try a local or organic meat product Try the lard recipe, impress your friends. You have one life to live and you might as well enjoy it with some really darn good food :)
Let me add that we recently watched The Botany of Desire and it was an excellent documentary. Check it out.