Topline Trends Tuesday: In your face, fat police!

April 14, 2009


Lard is back and although we were so cruel to it for so many years, it’s still soft, mild and yielding. It’s not bitter and hardened after our rough treatment at all.

Recipes that use lard (pork, duck and goose) for pastry and savoury dishes have been turning up frequently the last few months. Likewise, gourmet shops are selling clarified duck and goose fat for people who don’t want to cook the meat ahead so that they can have the fat for later.

Not convinced? Consider that Jennifer McLagan’s Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient (Ten Speed Press) won a 2008 IACP award. Her book is just teeming with recipes that depend on delicious fatty ingredients and if her success doesn’t provide ample evidence that lard is finding a place in the kitchen once again then I guess I’ll just have to tell you about how lard is elbowing butter off the table. It’s totally true. I’ve seen it myself. Seasoned lard-based butter substitutes such as Italian lardo and Ukrainian salo (pictured above) are keeping breadbaskets company on many restaurant tables.

How do you feel about lard? Will you use it as an ingredient but stop short of spreading it on bread? Or, are you revolted by the whole idea and reading this post only from the corner of your eye to avoid full contact with such evil messages?
Note:  If you want to read more about food trends, the Spring ’09 issue of my Topline Trends newsletter went live just a few hours ago!