When I was first learning to bake, at about 12 years old, I tried a few batches of chocolate chip cookies. I hadn't yet learned the importance of using measurements, so I threw in what looked like the right amount of ingredients, Voila! flat, from too little baking soda, over-baked, or extremely puffy, from too much baking soda. My parents had many a good laugh, at my expense. My three sisters didn't seem to mind, hey it's chocolate.
Feeling defeated by my cookies, I decided to try another family favorite, Apple Pie. I remember, sitting at the kitchen table, watching my great grandmother, making pie crust. (Was that really 40 years ago?) She didn't use measurements, and nobody laughed at her baking. I can still hear her saying, " You can't make good pie crust, without lard." I had that drummed in my head, over the course of my youth.
So I took out some flour, and asked. "Mom, what goes in a pie crust?" she said, "Flour salt, and shortening" Shortening? I mentioned grandma using lard, and she explained, that "The experts" found, lard is very unhealthy. (These are probably the same experts, that told us to stop eating eggs, and butter too.)
I poured a little flour in a bowl, threw in a pinch of salt, and found the lard. I kept adding lard, until it wasn't dry any more. (Mom forgot to mention water.) This was later referred to as, my "Lard Pie" Try as I might, I could not roll my crust, without it sticking to the table, and rolling pin. So, when no one was looking, I pressed it into the pie pan, sliced the apples, added a little cinnamon and sugar. And fought with the top crust, for what seemed like, an hour. Finally, the top crust was just pieces of crust, placed strategically, over the pie. (They wouldn't notice.)
Everyone raved, and laughed at the same time. That was the flakiest crust I have ever tasted, to this day. Even though, I did add to much lard, and rolled it too thick. Years later, my Dad still talked about it. I made an Apple pie, for Thanksgiving, every year. ( With butter) Dad said the same thing, every year. " I liked your crust better, before you learned how to make it." :)
Recently, I have been thinking about using lard again. I decided to do a little research, to see just how bad it is, and found some really surprising information about it, that I had to share.
Here's a well written article Lard is good.
This is what Wikipedia had to say Lard with some comparisons to other commonly used oils.
Another good article Put lard back in your larder