This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.
Neither my husband nor my eldest son will eat pie crust. As I believe my talents in the pie department are at least an A-, it's my theory that the vast majority of today's pies have so disappointed the two that they're helplessly pessimistic, certain that every pie is encased in the same rubbery, tasteless mess. Rather than suffer through such a simpering shell, they dig out the middle.
If only the first pie they'd eaten had been made with lard.
My mother made pie crusts with lard when I was a girl, and I grew up with the firm belief that there was no better part of the pie than the crust. I can recall vividly arguing with my siblings over who would get the piece with the sloppiest-hanging-over-the-edges-iest portion of flaky pastry. Pie experts know that lard "makes the flakiest, most flavorful crust known to man." It's due to the chemistry of lard's lipids, which form unusually large crystals.
Worried about lard's unhealthy reputation? First, you shouldn't be eating enough pie so that it's an enormous portion of your diet, anyway. But second, it's a rich dietary source of Vitamin D, and is actually only 40% saturated fat; 50% is the healthy monounsaturated fat. So if you can find a good source of lard without additives, a good pie crust with lard can make a comeback in your kitchen.
And maybe mine too. Now if I can just coax my husband to try a bite...
What home cooked foods do you remember best?