Before butter and margarine and especially before substances like shortening were created - people used rendered pig fat to cook with.  Better known as "lard", pig fat that's been rendered and allowed to re-solidify has been the cooks secret weapon since the beginning of time.

Somewhere in recent history, lard went out of style.  Now it appears to be making a comeback - especially with cooks "in-the-know" who are using artisanal lard in their arsenal.

While it's true that lard didn't really "go away" in  the sense that it was impossible to find, it's share of the grocery store shelf had shrunk considerably in the last 40 years or so.  And, it's been difficult to find lard that wasn't hydrogenated.  Now - that's changing.

Gourmet chefs and food writers are celebrating everything that's good about the naturally-occurring product.

Personally, I can tell you that lard makes a better pie crust that shortening or butter.  (You ARE making your crusts from scratch, aren't you?!)

For more about lard, click here.