Regina Schrambling has an interesting post on Slate about lard, the pig fat that was commonly used as cooking fat, shortening and even spread like butter before saturated-fat nazis deemed it unhealthy.
Over at least the last 15 years, it's repeatedly been given a clean bill of health, and good cooks regularly point out how superior this totally natural fat is for frying and pastries. But that hasn't been enough to keep Americans from recoiling--lard's negative connotations of flowing flesh and vats of grease and epithets like lardass and tub of lard have been absurd hurdles.
Those days are apparently over.
I'm convinced that the redemption of lard is finally at hand because we live in a world where trendiness is next to godliness. And lard hits all the right notes, especially if you euphemize it as rendered pork fat--bacon butter.
Mmmm, bacon butter...
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Turns out, Schrambling notes, that shortening and its cousin margarine have worse health effects due to trans fats, while the increasingly popular olive and canola oils do not work for all dishes or especially heavy cooking.