All fats are equal – some more than others

Duck Fat

Gourmets and experienced chefs knew all along that fat equals flavour. Anyone who has swirled a pat of butter in a pan while making a sauce knows how fat changes both flavour and texture.

Unfortunately, fat especially animal fat, has an image problem.

Medical professionals and nutritionists along with sensationalist media have been able to convince the public that fat is detrimental to their health.

The fact remains that all of us need a little fat to live healthy lives. Herein lies the secret!

You must consume fat but in moderation.

First fat makes food taste better, but it must be in an adequate quantity, not to excess.

Cooking with fat – be it lard, drippings, schmalz, suet, goose fat, or rendered lamb tail – is seen as the antitheses of healthy eating.

It wasn’t always so. When I was growing up people fried lamb’s fat and ate it with bread. Even today in rural Hungary people eat goose fat spread on country bread, or cook with it.

Rural U.S.A. still cherishes chitterlings and fried pork rind. But these people walk a lot and engage in strenuous physical work, whereas most desk-bound worker rarely move as much. As a result of this, many office workers become fat. Desk-jobs represent job hazards. Yet no one seems to make a point of urging deskbound workers to regularly and vigorously exercise. Equally important is the reduction of food intake.

After years of unpopularity, lard is resurfacing in North America thanks mainly to popular TV shows about cooking.

Chefs understand that lard produces the flakiest pastry crusts, and generally fat means taste.

Most Toronto supermarkets refrain from carrying lard. There is simply no demand.

Yet ethnic butchers sell tones of it. Chain stores are happy to sell hydrogenated plant fat; which actually represents a health hazard. It is the hydrogenation that causes the hazard, not the plant fat.

Dry crumbly leaf lard – the fat around the pigs kidney – is the finest and best for baking.

Rendering pig fat and skin is relatively easy, and many German butchers in Toronto sell hundreds of kilos each week to ethnic housewives.

Duck, goose and chcicken fat are excellent for cooking, and well prapred, can eb used on rye bread as a spread.

Of coruse unsaltred butter enjoys its well-earned reptation as an excellent medium with a taste all tis own. If you want to refine the taste and lok of any sauce or gravy, toass s amll piece of codl butter and let it melt.The see how it looks and tastes.

Chiense prefer peanut oil for stir-fryinh because of its high smoke point and rich texture.

Mediterranean peoples still today use olive oil for their daily cookinhg. Oilice oil has a unque taste and texture. Food cooked in it can be eaten cold or hot, and requires no refrigeration.

Overall, olive oil is healthy if consumed in mdoeraiton, because gram for gram the calrie content of butter is only aprpoxinately 10 per cent less that that of olive oil, but the latetr contains unsaturated fats/

In tropical cpotunries people use coconuit oil. Nowadays hydrogenated coconut fat is preferred, because of its solid texture.

Rwegardess of what you are using, reduce consumption, but employ unsalted btutuer, extra virgin olive oil, lard or goose fat.

Calories fat (grams) saturated fat (grams) per tablespoon

Beef suet         121   13.4   7.4
Chicken fat     116   12.8   6.4
Duck fat           117   13     3.9
Goose fat         117   13     3.6
lard                 117     13     5.1
Butter             108     12.2   7.6
Margarine       100   11.2   1.9
Canola oil       124   14     1
Corn oil           124   14     1.8
Olive oil           124   14     1.9
Peanut oil         124   14     2.4


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