During a bout of insomnia-inspired baking this morning, rubbing lard into flour for a traditional Irish soda bread, it occured to me that whilst lard has had something of a resurgence recently, it's still seen as something to be feared or reviled by most. I often use lard as the fat medium in food, in the same way I might use oil, butter, or duck fat. Sometimes to fry the opnions or veg in a casserole, to brown the meat in a braise, as the fat in bread or pastry or as a frying medium in itself, such as when frying eggs or cooking chips. I love the fact that it doesn't burn easily. I love the fact that it is stable. I love the fact that it is cheap. Mainly, I love its taste. I use dripping in the same way as well. I suspect this isn't common though, especially with people of my generation. Yes, I use great tasting olive oils, walnut oils and rapeseed oils, but only where suitable. The ubiquitous olive oil has become a little bit too ubiquitous, in my opinion. People have become terrified of lard in the same way they've become terrified of butter and various other animal fats as a result of bad press concerning health. I'm not convinced there's any truth in the links between animal fats and poor health. I'd be more worried about hydrogenated vegetable fat myself. Anything that tinkered with seems odd. The most visible evidence for this is that now, a good twenty or thirty years since animal fats went out of fashion, a nation that is obsessed with dietary health and diets that see animal fats as the work of the devil, is fatter and more unwell than ever in our history. The oft-quoted Norman Paradox, relating to the people of Normandy, whose diets are high in butter, cream and cheese, yet who have low levels of heart disease has some truth in it, I think. Consider also Alaskan Inuits, whose diets are traditionally very high in seal and whale blubber. Yes, they might be considered fat, or even obese by Western standards but again, a remarkably low incidence of heart disease. Yes, there may be other contributing factors to this, but the coincidence is too large not to consider. So, to put it briefly, I love lard. I love dripping. I love goose, duck and chicken fat. I love butter. Do you? Do you use any of those much? Where do you use them? Any anecdotes, opinions, cooking ideas and recipes welcome!