As a child, I was a small town girl whose parents owned and operated the area feed mill. Our meat products came from the local locker plant where animal products sold. Poultry, beef, and pork raised on local farms were often on our table -- eggs and fresh produce supplemented meals. Rendering the fat of hogs was a common practice, and we included the piggy product in our menus as well. In this lifestyle, we ate close to the source and the value of the practice was instilled in me.
I also had the good fortune of two strong grandmothers. On the maternal side was Christina, a dark-eyed first generation American with the high cheekbones of the Slavic nations. Her kitchen smelled of vinegar, cabbage, roast pork, and wild game. On my father’s side, Gustava was a Swedish immigrant. Her kitchen wafted aromas of fresh pastries, stewing chicken, and rice pudding. Both lived to be octogenarians -- an amazing age for their time. I believe it was due in part to their diet of unadulterated fats. Little did either of them know that the lard they used was unsaturated, or realize their old world recipes would eventually succumb to a blitz of prepared hydrogenated products.
Today, I am the grandmother and remain focused on the importance of eating “source to table.” Rendering artisan lard is a great place to start.