How to Render, Cure & Cook with Lard, Tallow & Poultry Fat
by Andrea Chesman
I received an unfinished proof digital copy of this book with the purpose of reviewing it. The text I read wasn’t final and might have changes/revision before published. This review reflects my own thoughts and is not compensated in any way
The Fat Kitchen Book Review:
I’d like to start by quoting the description given by the publisher because is what got me interested in this book in the first place.
Description by publisher: “Animal fats are being welcomed back into the kitchen! Chefs and home cooks alike are rediscovering how fats create amazing texture — from the flakiest lard pie crust to the crispiest fried chicken — and define the flavor of a dish like authentic clam chowder with salt pork or duck fat French fries.
The Fat Kitchen is the comprehensive guide to rendering and using whole animal fats, including lard, tallow, and poultry fat. Cooks will learn the distinctive qualities and best uses of each fat along with methods for curing and storing them. In addition, 100 scrumptious recipes highlight traditional cultural favorites like matzoh ball soup, pasta carbonara, pork tamales, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, Southern-style collards, confit chicken, New England baked beans, and jelly doughnuts.”
The reason this description got my attention is that I learned most of my cooking skills thanks to my grandma, and she used to cook with animal fat like lard (pork’s fat).
I terribly miss my grandma’s cooking (and her of course), it was delicious, scrumptious, and just like any grandma’s cooking, it tastes like childhood.
The Fat Kitchen, what’s inside
The recipes are well laid out, with step by step instructions, and even some history or tips are given. The book covers the use of beef, chicken, duck and pig fat and why animal fats belong in a well-balanced diet.
I really like that you don’t only learn the importance of animal fat and recipes to go with them, but also how to render them, store them, and of course how to implement them in recipes.
So overall is a great resource, with a very specific topic. Is a step further beyond the regular cooking books that are only a collection of recipes. (Nothing wrong with a collection of recipes, as I own many myself, but is nice to have learning resources to go along with the recipes too.)
And what a collection of recipes! You can find a total of 5 chapters of recipes divided into snacks, street food and starters, main dishes, side dishes, baking and desserts, and basic recipes.
I simply love the photography in this book. Just beautiful but wished it had more photos, as not all dishes have a photographic representation.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in using animal fat for their recipes.
But of course, this is a very personal book nowadays, since so many people have a restrictive diet, like veganism, low-fat diets, and alike. So I am aware that this book is not made for everyone.