Grandma’s Secret Ingredient that Made Her Pies So Good is Making a Comeback – Lard


The bucket of lard pictured above weighs 8 pounds and sells for $57.54 at Walmart, which makes it more expensive than vegetable oil. And now lard is making a comeback.

Remember when McDonald’s fries were cooked in lard and how tasty they were back then, then the food police drove McDonald’s to use vegetable oils?

One day, perhaps, pies and pastries made with lard will be considered a delicacy, and not poo poo’ed on like they were back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.   And I hope they are so expensive that they will be out of reach to old hippie vegans who would love to have such a treat after realizing they wasted so much of their lives denying themselves the many wondrous dishes produced in a time when this nation was prosperous.

When Colby and Megan Garrelts opened their newest restaurant, Rye, in Leawood this past December, they made a shocking admission: The flaky crusts for the house-baked lemon-meringue pie and molasses-rich MoKan nut pie were made with lard. Yes, lard, that legendary ingredient which creates the lightest, flakiest pie crusts – and renders such a dessert verboten to vegetarians. (As Fat City has reported before, it’s rare to find a restaurant or bakery ready to admit using the product anymore.)

The Garreltses aren’t alone in celebrating lard. The joys of rendered pig are espoused in a cookbook (published by Kansas City-based Andrews McMeel) titled 100% Natural Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient. The softbound cookbook was created by the editors of Grit Magazine, whose editor-in-chief, Oscar H. Will III, tells Fat City: “Lard is making a comeback, partly because of the slow-food movement and partly because the lipid hypothesis – that saturated fats are dangerous – has been debunked.”

“The real culprit for a lot of modern health issues,” Will adds, “are fats that don’t exist in nature, the trans fats. Although no one should be making a diet of mostly fatty foods, no matter what kind of fat.”

Read more here


  1. Whoopie

    Last Summer I got to jonesing for some of those old original McDonald’s French fries. I went to the store to get some beef tallow and discovered it can’t be had. I searched the internet and finally found a supplier who sold blocks of it for making homemade soap…but not intended for cooking. You’d swear it was pure poison.

    I finally got my beef tallow by frying up hamburger and saving the drippings. It took a few weeks but I finally accumulated enough to fry up some tasty taters.

  2. Betty Butter


    My nanny, always poured her meat drippings into an empty coffee can to use later. It was one of the reasons she was a fabulous cook.

      • Betty Butter


        I occasionally save bacon grease in a tiny Tupperware container and place it in the fridge, and use it to flavor beans, or stews.

  3. Dark 24½

    My mother wanted to make some pie crusts, she went to go get lard and couldn’t find it in the refrigeration section. She was told it was on the regular shelf with the other oils. My mother was shocked at all the preservatives and other crap in it. She was a farm girl, she wanted the real deal.

    Betty Butter, look for “bacon ends” for beans and stews. Bacon is cut so it has that rectangle shape you see in store purchased packaging. Bacon ends are the pieces they cut off. Plenty of meat, plenty of fatty flavor for your cooking.

  4. Ah, how I miss the good old days back when I lived in the home country of south Texas. Getting a yearling hog butchered every fall. Giving the head and all the fat to a hispanic friend’s mother-in-law. She’d render the fat into manteca and chicharones. I get a few dozen tamales and some chicharones and egg tacos out of the deal. sigh….

  5. and yes, my grandmothers were lard ladies too. They’d make extra pie crust so I’d have something to nibble on instead of the fillings and toppings. yummy

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