What's Better Than Tallow?

A lot of Tallow ..  and a lot of Lard! All made in the comfort of my kitchen from fresh Suet and Pork Fatback  🙂

I picked up some beef suet (cow fat from around the kidneys) and pork fatback from The Butcher Shop in the South End. For just around $10, I’ll have enough fat to last me months (better value hands-down than butter). And they really don’t lend that overly porky (bacony) flavor to your food. Very neutral. Think about it. This fat used to be everywhere before modern “vegetable” oil came along!

Corn is cheaper than pigs and cows. Soy is cheaper than pigs and cows. Sunflowers are cheaper than pigs and cows. Cotton seed is than pigs and cows. And their oil is just a shelf stable. So, it’s easy to understand why it’d be theoretically more profitable to manufacture these processed oils over Lard and Tallow. I say “theoretically” because people up until the last few decades have been using both lard and tallow as their main source of cooking oil (and olive oil too). Every household in America had a lard tub and most knew how to render it. Even McDonald’s use Beef Tallow to deep-fry all its french fries until 1983.

So cheap, yes, but how to convert all these life-long (millennia-long) “lard-asses” into chemical-laden impostors? Why with political leverage.You know, the same people who leech billions of dollars each year in US subsidies to continue producing cheap vegetables to be produced and sold at substantial mark ups! Because there’s only so much corn, soy beans (ew) and cotton seed (not sure about this one  🙂 ) we can eat, right? Do worry. These big businesses (uh.. I mean small Ma & Pop farms) can just continue to produce larger and larger amounts of cheap crops (raking in larger and larger profits) as they find more and more “food items”, not whole foods they can added these products to.

But there are still these people who continue to use lard and tallow when cooking meats, crusts, eggs, etc. What to do? Well, I guess we’ll need to start circulating rumors about how unhealthy animal fat is. And bacon. And red meat. These items won’t be missed (by business) as there’s only so much you can process the item and mark up the price to the public. Yes, quite a conspiracy theory, but damn it just sounds too terrible NOT to be true!

Congrats Big Food! You won this round, but people are starting to wise up to the fact that since these fake fats inception, general health has done nothing, but plummet. Pigs are bred to be practically anorexic and Americans eat less saturated fats and red meat than ever before, yet heart disease (along with countless others) is ever on the ascent. New tactic: Stop. Look around. Real hard. Retrace our steps. Then follow the path we had been on before we stopped thinking for ourselves.

Factoid: Up until the early 1900’s heart-attacks were almost literally unheard of. The first recorded myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the U.S. was in 1921. In 1930 there were 3000 U.S. deaths from heart attacks; 30 years later that number rose to 500,000.  Primary causes this upward trend are believed to be the result of our shift from the use of traditional saturated fats and cholesterol towards the over-consumption of Omega-6 poly-unsaturated vegetable oils.

Well, enough ranting (for now). In parting, I leave you with a brief list of the benefits to eating Lard and Tallow:

  • High in monounsaturated fat (the other good fat)
  • High in Vitamin D (better immune system, stronger bones/teeth, and more energy)
  • Provides energy and structural integrity to the cells
  • Protects the liver
  • Enhances the body’s use of EFA’s (essential fatty acids)
  • Grassfed sources are high in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
  • Don’t go rancid quickly
  • Don’t draw antioxidants from the body’s reserves
  • Aren’t linked to cancer
  • Don’t irritate the artery walls

And lastly, PLEASE make it yourself! Get over the smell and texture, and just do it! It’s sooo easy to make and worth the effort (and leftover cracklins). Don’t be the stuff at the store, as most all of it has been hydrogenated to lend it much better shelf stability. Homemade lard last 3-4 months in the fridge and years in the freezer!

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About Primal Pig

“Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” -Hippocrates I'm 28 years old, living in Boston. I studied international business and culinary arts. I try to incorporate my experience abroad, nutritional research and ancient culinary traditions in my life. I'm not trying to change the world, but I'm taking charge of how I make my way through. Interested in paleo / primal living, or just tired of convention wisdom? Go ahead and question away.. many people don't have enough questions! Too many "whatever you say" answers, accepting "experts" regurgitated "knowledge". If you're curious about other nutritional / lifestyle options, let me know. If I don't know exactly what you need, I can at least point you in the right direction.
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