Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vegitarian*, Vegatarian* (for Vegetarian*)

Much to the consternation of the local vegetarian/vegan community, the Honest Weight Food Co-op has recently started carrying organic, free-range, grass-fed, and otherwise exemplary cuts of meat. (A carnivorous friend of mine with a cynical sense of humor suggests that maybe the co-op's meat department should be renamed "Murder.") And as if that's not enough, now we're also stocking lard—lard, which has long been considered the absolute worst substance any health-conscious consumer could possibly ingest. When they say not to eat anything "white" (flour, sugar, milk, etc.), lard is probably at the top of the list. The assumption is that it simply goes one of two ways upon reaching the stomach: either straight to your heart or directly to your butt ("lardass"). Those of us who can now make wonderfully flaky pie crusts and deep-fried whatevers are currently and quietly rejoicing, though I personally feel an obligation to try and calm the nerves of those who aren't. So here goes. A Google search on lard + "the new health food" gets about 33,000 hits. Outfits as redoubtable as the New York Times are touting its usefulness in cooking, along with its newfound nutritional value (it's a rich source of vitamin D). The latter is the sticking point for most people, but it seems that the saturated and monounsaturated fats (like lard, coconut oil, and olive oil) are arguably better for you than the polyunsaturated ones we've pledged our troth to for so many years. I won't lard it on too thickly here; you can go and research this for yourself. I recommend the Weston Price Foundation for more information on healthy fats, along with this informative article by co-op member Miriam Axel-Lute. The typo Vegitarian* shows up three times today in OhioLINK, Vegatarian* twice.

(Bread spread with lard, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

1 comment:

Perle said...

Fun article. I've always used lard - basically just rendered animal fat. I cook an entire pound or 2 of bacon and save all the grease (lard) in a mason jar in the fridge and the back in ziplock i the freezer. I use it in my parmesan cornbread, handmade tortillas, saute onions & garlic for beans and greens, etc. I only buy a brick of the really white stuff when we make tamales.
Martha Stewart dedicated an episode to lard making some years back.