Tuesday, February 8, 2011

'Lard...? Is that a food?'

More culinary adventures in LA. Searching for meat-based solidified fat in a city where ‘skinless chicken breast and egg white omelette’ is offered as a hearty brunch option… frustrating times.

I was doing a roast dinner and wanted goosefat or at least lard for the spuds. Any good British cook knows that’s the best way to guarantee good crispy outsides. Having tried and failed at several big, fairly upscale supermarkets (Gelsons, Wholefoods), I ended up at the mecca of gourmet food, Bristol Farms. If Bristol Farms doesn’t sell it, it can’t be bought.

I looked in the European cheese section first, because I know from my butter hunt that’s where the good stuff is hidden. No joy. So I scanned the dairy chiller, where in addition to eggs there were about 7 different brands of bottled egg white (seriously! Egg in a bottle! I suspect they’re about as closely related to egg as I am to Mother Theresa). Also many butter substitutes. Nothing that looked like lard though. I asked at the butcher counter and he looked at me like I was crazy. Shed a silent tear for the nice butcher in Dartmouth Park who has pots of goosefat for sale.

Before giving up I asked a kid in a Bristol Farms red checked shirt, ‘Do you have lard? Or even goosefat?’.
‘Um, is that, like, a food?’ came the reply. I took that as a no.

I even tried a European cheese shop in Santa Monica, just on a whim, but all they could offer me was a pig cheek which had a lot of fat on it.

So, olive oil roasties it was. Actually, I par-boiled and bashed them about a bit, made sure the oil was good and hot, and they came out pretty crispy. All’s well that end’s well, I guess.

Oooh, searching for nice lard image for you I came across this article which is all about how good for you lard is. Read it and weep Malibu barbies.


  1. Really, how are you going to make good Yorkshire Puddings to go with your roast without lard? Not that I imagine you'd have many takers of pure batter in Malibu mind. Well maybe one ;)

  2. Silly me, going to snooty Bristol Farms for solidified animal fat. Apparently Mexican supermarkets are the place for lard - which makes sense since Mexican cuisine is not afraid of a little hearty animal fat. So I stand corrected and the Yorkshire puds and roast spuds will be crispy, fluffy perfection henceforth.