Rendering Suet aka Makin’ Lard

Suffice to say that I have a greater understanding of the scent of a medieval household after my first experience rendering suet.

I’ve been reading The Great Mortality by John Kelly, a riveting account of the black plague and how it wound its way through Europe in the 14th century. Needless to say a key ingredient in its spread was the incredible filth of households in this period. People bathed rarely and garbage (think dead animals, toilet offerings, rotten food) was strewn about the streets. They also used lard or tallow in making candles. According to Kelly, lard wasn’t a preferred source of fuel because of the smell.

So let me get this straight. People who were surrounded by rotting flesh and human excrement complained about the smell of burning lard. How could this be?



Fermented Hot Sauce: Part 1

I never used to like hot sauce.

That changed during my first camping trip. I was 19-years-old.

Traveling to the site with a fellow newbie girlfriend, en route we picked up a lot of beer, a 12-pack of hot dogs and a sack of buns. That was it.  We had no tent, no sleeping bags, no nothing. Just beer and hot dogs. We joined a big group of experienced campers. They had barbecues, food tents, frying pans, cooking sauces, venison, and…

Sriacha sauce. That lovely fermented garlic hot sauce, you all know it, the squirt bottle with the green lid. The symbol that you’re in a good restaurant. I mean, come on, Morimoto uses it.



Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture



You know that passionate feeling that wells up inside you? The sort of feeling of pride and hope and love and excitement and connection all melted and molten together? This is the feeling that has often been used by dictators by calling it patriotism and is a feeling I am generally wary of. I remember the last time I felt it so strongly. I was on the banks of a river in Oregon, it was summer and it was so beautiful. The feeling bubbled up from the earth, the flora and the river and I felt so amazed at the beauty. It was the first time that I felt really excited to be a part of this country and I thought about all the various landscapes and wished that we hadn’t covered much of them with monoculture crops.

At Slow Food Nation, the largest celebration of American food in history, a Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture was signed on 25 August, 2008 to help accelerate the transformation of the present industrialized agricultural system in the US.

Endorsed by academics, students, agricultural institutes, writers, farmers, filmmakers and chefs, the declaration emerged as the movement to establish better food and farming in the US gains continued strength and support from all sectors of society.


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