And you were always told fat was bad.
Well, it is and it isn’t. According to Goudiss and Goudiss in their cookbook, “Foods That Will Win The War And How To Cook Them (1918),” as part of the World War I war effort, saving fat is a good thing.
REASONS WHY OUR GOVERNMENT ASKS US TO SAVE FAT, WITH PRACTICAL RECIPES FOR FAT CONSERVATION
With the world-wide decrease of animal production, animal fats are now growing so scarce that the world is being scoured for new sources of supply. Our Government has asked the housewife to conserve all the fats that come to her home and utilize them to the best advantage. To this end it is necessary to have some knowledge of the character of different fats and the purposes to which they are best adapted.
The word fat usually brings to one’s mind an unappetizing chunk of
meat fat which most persons cannot and will not eat, and fatty foods have been popularly supposed to be “bad for us” and “hard to digest.” Fats are, however, an important food absolutely essential to complete nutrition, which repay us better for the labor of digestion than any other food. If they are indigestible, it is usually due to improper cooking or improper use; if they are expensive, it is merely because they are extravagantly handled. The chief function of fatty food is to repair and renew the fatty tissues, to yield energy and to maintain the body heat. The presence of fat in food promotes the flow of the pancreatic juice and bile, which help in the assimilation of other foods and assist the excretory functions of the intestine. These are badly performed if bile and other digestive fluids are not secreted in
sufficient quantity. The absence of fat in the diet leads to a state
of malnutrition, predisposing to tuberculosis, especially in children
and young persons.
It is claimed that the most serious food shortage in Germany is fat;
that the civilian population is dying in large numbers because of
the lack of it, and that Von Hindenburg’s men will lose out on the
basis of fat, rather than on the basis of munitions or military
organization. Worst of all is the effect of fat shortage on the
children of the nation. Leaders of thought all over Europe assert
that even if Germany wins, Germany has lost, because it has sapped the strength of its coming generation.”
Here are some of their fat saving recipes.
TO RENDER FATS
TO RENDER FAT BY DIRECT METHOD
Run the fat through the household meat grinder or chop fine in the
chopping bowl. Then heat in the double boiler until completely melted, finally straining through a rather thick cloth or two thicknesses of cheese cloth, wrung out in hot water. By this method there is no danger of scorching. Fats heated at a low temperature also keep better than those melted at higher temperature. After the fat is rendered, it should be slowly reheated to sterilize it and make sure it is free from moisture. The bits of tissue strained out, commonly known as cracklings, may be used for shortening purposes or may be added to cornmeal which is to be used as fried cornmeal mush.
TO RENDER FAT WITH MILK
To two pounds of fat (finely chopped if unrendered) add one-half pint of milk, preferably sour. Heat the mixture in a double boiler until thoroughly melted. Stir well and strain through a thick cloth or two thicknesses of cheese cloth wrung out in hot water. When cold the fat forms a hard, clean layer and any material adhering to the under side of the fat, may be scraped off. Sour milk being coagulated is preferable to sweet milk since the curd remains on the cloth through which the rendered mixture is strained and is thus more easily separated from the rendered fat which has acquired some of the milk flavor and butter fat.
TO RENDER FAT BY COLD WATER METHOD
Cut fat in small pieces. Cover with cold water. Heat slowly. Let cook until bubbling ceases. Press fat during heating so as to obtain all the oil possible. When boiling ceases strain through cheesecloth and let harden. If desired one-half teaspoon salt, one-eighth teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon onion and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning may be added before straining.
TO RENDER STRONG FLAVORED FATS
To mutton, duck or goose fat add equal amount of beef suet or
vegetable fat and render same as suet. This may then be used for
shortening, or pan broiling for meat or fish dishes, and not have the characteristic taste of the stronger fats.
When rendering strong mutton, duck or goose fats if a small whole
onion is added the strong flavor of the fat is reduced. Remove the
onion before straining. It may be used in cooking.
TO CLARIFY FAT
Melt the fat in an equal volume of water and heat for a short time at a moderate temperature. Stir occasionally. Cool and remove the layer of fat which forms on the top, scraping off any bits of meat or other material which may adhere to the other side.
Fats which have formed on top of soups, of cooked meats (such as pot roast, stews), salt meats (such as corned beef, ham, etc.), or strong fats, such as from boiled mutton, poultry and game, may be clarified in this way and used alone or combined with other animal or vegetable fats in any savory dish.
CARE OF FAT AFTER BEING USED FOR COOKING
If fat is used for deep fat frying as croquettes, doughnuts, fritters,
etc., while fat is still hot, add a few slices raw potato and allow it
to stay in the fat until it is cool. Remove potato–strain fat, allow
to harden and it is ready to use. The potato absorbs odors from fat.