Tubs that used to contain dangerous quantities of butterlike spread now contain heart-healthy lard (the one on the left is still warm from being rendered and hasn't solidified).
My parents mailed a well-wrapped container of leaf lard to me, and last night after the bug was snug in bed I skipped around in the sections in Real Food about lard and butter and margarine. I knew that butter was better for you than margarine (Mom, Dad, I'll send you this book when I'm done), but didn't know that lard was so much better for you than margarine or shortening. I also didn't know that commercial lard, aside from tasting too porky to use in sweet pies, is partially hydrogenated! So after skimming Melissa Clark's Times article in which she tests a zillion pie crusts containing various proportions of different fats and leaf lard plus butter comes out of it the clear winner (interestingly, chopped unrendered suet does well too), I'm even more excited to try my first lard pie crust next week for Thanksgiving. What to put in that pie is an open question. Any suggestions? I really like the sound of Clark's pear and pomegranate molasses, but a good buttermilk pie would perhaps let the crust shine a bit more, and Mr. Chalmers likes apple pie so much, and I have these Concord grapes . . .