Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Butter = $0.95 per cup
Walmart's cheapest coconut oil = $1.40 per cup
Real lard from the Darien butcher = $0.35 per cup
Hydrogenated lard from the store = $0.60 per cup
Aldi's raw olive oil = $2.00 per cup
Woodman's cheapest raw olive oil = $1.90 per cup
Woodman's cheapest olive oil = $1.50 per cup
Off-brand shortening = $0.50 per cup
Pomace oil = $0.70 per cup

I ran out of lard when I made soap last week. I can't find butchers around here that actually kill animals and sell the meat and other parts; the "butchers" here are just meat stores. I think I may actually have to buy some Crisco for use in seasoning skillets; it's killin' me to wipe coconut oil and olive oil on my skillets.

I've been using lard for two reasons. 1) It was the cheapest fat I could find. 2) I'd rather use unrefined fats than chemist-made fats. Of course, pigs are unclean animals, so I'm not sure that my usual plan ("I'd rather eat the fat God made than the fat the scientist made") pans out for lard.

Looking online for information on fats, I discovered that somebody else uses the same thing I'd been using as a shortening-replacement. In recipes that called for Crisco, I was using part butter and part lard, with a little more butter than lard. It seemed to work nicely, giving a buttery taste instead of such a piggy taste, with more of a shortening-texture to the baked goods.

For all the grand things my friends have told me about coconut oil and its health benefits, I'm finding that it stinks as a product for greasing pans. When I've used coconut oil to grease the granola pan or bread pan, I can't detach my food from my baking dish. It also makes cornbread turn out with a weird non-cohesive texture.

I wonder if grocery-store meat departments sell suet at this time of year. I have no idea how much it costs.

Last week I made a batch of home-made soap with Crisco. I wonder if the processed fat will work okay, or if it will give me rashes like the typical store "bath bar." If it works, it'd be a lot easier than rendering and washing animal fats. If not, I'm going to have to take a long drive to a real butcher. On the other hand, pomace isn't that much more expensive than the Crisco imitations.

But in the meantime, I'm gonna have to find me some lard, somehow, somewhere.


  1. I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for, Susan, but the Pick-n-Save over here (on Pt. Rd. in Glendale) sells it packaged in the cooking aisle near the rest of the cooking oils.

  2. But Cate, isn't it hydrogenated? I found hydrogenated lard in the cooler at Woodmans. If I'm going to go to processed and refined fats, I'm not sure how to compare the lard and the Crisco.

  3. Ah, yes. The ingredient list reads: lard and hydrogenated lard, bha, propyl gallate and citric acid added to help protect flavor. It doesn't really sound like what you're looking for.

    Why is it so hard to find food in its simplest forms?

  4. We met a soapmaker at the Pioneer Village open house on Father's Day. She makes all of her soaps with vegetable oil. You know what? I was thinking about telling you that...forgot. It seemed to me that using vegetable oil/ Crisco would be a lot easier too. Sorry for the delay.

    Here is her to browse. Too expensive to buy.

  5. Erin, did she say she uses Crisco? The website talks about using only "the finest vegetable oils" which, in my mind, means first-pressed olive oil, or raw coconut oil, or something fancy like that. But I guess it could mean a bottle of corn oil from the supermarket, as opposed to used french-fry oil that's been washed clean.

    And yeah, when I made the soap with Crisco, it was LOTS easier. I hope it works and doesn't bother my skin, because that would be a great solution. If I can use Crisco, I'll end up with store-sized bars for about 25-cents each, but without the itch! And theoretically, if I bothered to come up with a decent soap mold, I could sell those 25-cent bars at the flea market next year for decent profit. I just can't get around to making a decent mold. My bars have rough edges and look ugly.

    I still have to figure out what I'm going to do about cooking, baking, and seasoning my skillets without lard in the house. Probably I'll buy some of the lard Cate mentioned, at least to get me through until I find a butcher that has real fat. I keep wondering if I should be hoarding the grease off the hamburger and the little chunks of fat off the arm roast, and rendering them and washing it. But I'm not ready to be that frugal....