National Lard Day
Lard is a cooking fat that’s used much in the same way as vegetable shortening or butter. It can be used for sautéing, grilling, frying, and baking. It has been used to make Mexican desserts and Southern dishes such as fried chicken. Something that most people don’t realize is that lard has less saturated fat than butter does.
That’s surprising because lard is often depicted in popular culture as being an unhealthy fat. Fortunately, that narrative is being pushed back against by a holiday called National Lard Day. This day falls on December 8th and tries to spread the word about this fat and its role in cooking.
The History of National Lard Day
Throughout history, people have used pig fat for cooking. It was considered by many to be one of the most valuable parts of the pig. In the U.S., lard gained popularity throughout the 19th century.
As the 20th century began, lard even began to become more popular than butter. It was certainly cheaper and more widely available than butter, and easier for many people to store before the invention of refrigeration.
In 1911, Crisco created a lard alternative that was made with hydrogenated cottonseed oil. It quickly became popular among the populace, and by the 1960s, it had almost completely replaced lard in the average American household. During the 1990s, lard made a comeback, however. Many chefs began to use lard in many of their recipes, and this practice continued until the modern day.
In 2018, the Healthy Fats Coalition created the first National Healthy Fats Day, a day that would soon be known as National Lard Day. This holiday was created to show people that animal fats deserved a place in the kitchen and were a suitable alternative to artificial trans fats. The holiday has been observed annually ever since.
Observing National Lard Day
Celebrating lard isn’t all that difficult. All that’s required is for people to be willing to purchase some lard and then use it to whip up some food. Some of the dishes that we enjoy that are cooked with lard include Biscuits and Gravy, Chili Tamales, Bertolina Cake, and Ham & Bean Soup.
Of course, there are also about a thousand other recipes that people can make on this day. In fact, any recipe using oil or butter can be adapted to use lard instead. No matter what recipe someone chooses, they should be sure to use the hashtag #NationalLardDay online to spread the word about this holiday.