So, This weekend I've made a ton of progress on Leslie's cowl, which is great because maybe this year I'll actually be able to do knitted holiday presents for people! huzzah. Well, I'm starting with my siblings since there's only three of them, and perhaps in years to come I'll have amped up my knitting speed to be able to gift for more people. As it stands, I have a good plan set out, and I'm liking this New New Shale pattern enough that it doesn't bore me.
I got through about three repeats while watching tonight's Mad Men, which was fandamntastic, and much more emotionally satisfying than last week's episode. I loved Betty in this. And I looooooved Joan. I always love Joan. but ACK I am dead from Jon Hamm pathos. That man is a powerful talent. eesh.
What I'm most proud of this weekend (which was largely spent at Innsbrook with the family for my grandma's 80th birthday party, and that was great fun for everyone, I love those folks) is that I've ventured further into the epic world of...I don't know, urban homesteading? DIY cooking? Being Awesome? whatever you want to call it. Mom's been listening to this audiobook called I Love Pie! (great title) and has been convinced that we need lard in the house. Finally! She thought I was crazy when I started talking about cooking with lard earlier in the summer. Granted, I may have been foaming at the mouth a little, but that is only because the thought of delicious flaky biscuits and pie crusts and dumplings and cornbread et cetera is enough to drive anyone mad. But I digress. I now have a partner in fat-rendering crime, and to this effect we took a trip to Whole Foods (yes, yes, more like Whole Paycheck) after dropping off the bags and whatnot from Innsbrook and dithered around buying bread and various kinds of chocolate and looking at what kind of shortening they offered in their baking aisle. Mom chickened out at the meat counter, so I had to nut up or shut up (thank you, Zombieland, I will be saying that....forever, now) and lo, asked one of the butchers if they had pork fat. We ended up taking home a pound and a half of fat scraps, quite a bit of which was actually meat and my goodness it's a shame how much food goes to waste in a supermarket world. they were going to throw this stuff out! And I got it for free! FREE. And I know it's not ideal for making lard, but this is more of a trial run, in my mind.
We used the oven method, cutting up the fat (and separating a lot of the meat out for use in stews or whatever later) and putting it in the oven at 250 for...a couple hours, more like two and a half. Since this wasn't leaf lard or pure back fat, there wasn't a whole lot of lard rendered, probably about...1/4 of a cup. But it WORKED. And it's sitting in the fridge now, snowy white and ready for pie-making, which mom is all excited to start, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. More exciting still, I have a whole mess of pork cracklings which I plan to put in the green beans for Thanksgiving, unless I use them for something (or hell, just eat them) sooner than that.
To those of you naysayers who are going "LARD AUGH THE HORROR," including my dad and my girlfriend, I say to you: Shut your pie-hole. I am going to make kickass pastry with this lard, and complainers and folks who have bought into the actually quite unproven idea that saturated fats cause heart disease and are evil evil evil to the core but gosh does that do wonders for corporations that refine and sell vegetable oil OH WAIT ARTIFICIAL TRANS FATS..well, complainers are not going to get any biscuits. or Pie. Shazam.