Yes, fat’s gotten a bad wrap over the years. My thinking is that in moderation (and healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercising and getting that heart rate pumping) there’s nothing wrong with fat and using it as a fabulous seasoning ingredient is a way to elevate your foods to another level of boholiciousness. Back in the day, decades ago, growing up in southern Appalachia of West Virginia, coal mining country, the go to seasoning often used was fat back and lard. Folks never gave it a second thought. Yes, fat was considered among the seasoning super stars.
Food is like fashion~~trends come and go. Now fat is back, and it’s ‘artery clogging’ reputation is being moderated in the culinary world. Yes, views on animal fat are changing. Again, the operative words are IN MODERATION and with due selection and application. Here’s an informative write up on lard and fat from The Guardian, an award-winning Pulitzer Prize winning magazine, that addresses the ‘love of lard’.
Here are some of the seasoning super stars that I use (in moderation) when seasoning dishes~~from collards, kale, cabbage and other veggies to soups, stews, meats and more, I pick and choose what will bring the flavor rainbow of happiness to each recipe! And, don’t overlook bones…used to be butchers would give them to you free, but now you pay a nominal amount for them. Bone marrow is chocked full of nutrition and flavor!
My descriptions of what you see in this post are certainly not exhaustive of the information~~you must research, read and investigate on your own to decide if you want to incorporate into you cooking! Until then, here’s to ~peace and the seasoning of food with fats in moderation~ xoxo ally
Another name could be ‘ham hock’. It’s the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot of the pig. Tenderness only comes after hours of cooking, which seasons slowly the dish, then you can pick and shred flavorful meat from the shank and toss into whatever you’re cooking if you like. Yep, this is soul food cooking and Southern cooking at its best.
These are the cheeks of the pork. Sometimes called jowl bacon. Hog jowls are the foundation of soul food and Southern food. There are so many uses for these jowls in cooking! And, the flavor they bring can bring you to your knees!
Sometimes called ‘pork rind’ too. It’s the skin of the pig, and it’s fried. Pork rinds can be pickled and are kind of like foi gras with a rich and buttery taste. These pork cracklings can be put in corn bread batter, used as crispy toppers on salads and more.
Comes from a pig. Fat that’s under its back. It’s a hard fat and can be rendered to make lard. Ground and small pieces can be found in sausage for flavoring. Gives a rich and authentic flavor and can be used with herbs, vegetables, beans and more. Salted and cured fatback is really salty, so omit salt if using this type of fatback.
The leg portion of the steer or heifer. Cheap. Abounds in flavor. Great for seasoning vegetable soups, beans, and stews. Must be cooked a long time to tenderize.
©alice d’antoni phillips www.allyskitchen.com