I can’t think of many things that taste better than good pork fat, as in your own homemade lard. And because of that great taste, you don’t need huge amounts.
Nearly effortless to make, a few teaspoons of homemade lard do a lot for so many dishes. For instance, stir two teaspoons into a bean or vegetable soup, or pan roast broccoli in a couple of tablespoons. Or make a favorite French and Italian spread -- blend a little with garlic, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, then spread a sheer film over hot toasted country bread.
On the other end of the indulgence spectrum, substitute lard for half the butter in a pie crust for an apple pie for a lovely flavor play with the spiced apples.
Purists love the fat from around the kidney, which melts into creamy, neutral tasting leaf lard, but any fresh pork fat will do.
Cook to Cook: Pan drippings from roasts and skillets can do with lots more flavor, so save them in the fridge or freezer. Remember much of the seasoning you added to those roasts and sautés ended up in the fats we normally throw away. Small amounts carry a lot of impact.
Darra Goldstein is editor in chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, an 888-page reference guide to all things sweet. "The book is really a compendium of human desires, a cultural history of desire for things that are sweet and what it has caused in the world, in both the realm of pleasure and also of pain," she says.