You rarely see lard on menus. There aren't shelves and shelves of it in every supermarket. In this country, we've sort of lost touch with the once beloved pig fat.
On today's podcast, we ask — who killed lard? Was it Upton Sinclair? His novel, The Jungle, contained this memorable passage about the men who cook the lard:
...and as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting,— sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard!
Or should we blame William Procter and James Gamble? It was their company which created a new alternative to lard — the "pure and wholesome" Crisco.
Bonus: Dan Pashman, a friend of Planet Money, appeared in today's show. You can listen to Dan and Mark Garrison's food podcast, the Sporkful, here
Note: Today's podcast is a rerun. It first ran in January, 2012.