It’s no secret that the food culture is swinging back from its longtime emphasis on giving up animal fat for health reasons.

Nose-to-tail eating, bacon love, an appreciation for cultured butter—all signs point to a utopia for animal-fat-lovers.

And while up until now, most animal-fat advocates produced books that concentrated more on the meat part of the equation, Jennifer McLagan’s newest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, delves wholeheartedly into the joy of animal fat. Among other things, it features detailed instructions on how to render fat at home, along with recipes that include bacon baklava, bone marrow tacos, and leaf lard pastry.

Salon interviewed McLagan in a conversation that ranged from the banal (how we are all food illiterate and removed from the source of our food) to the fascinating (how ancient people preserved their butter in peat bogs). McLagan also mounts a spirited defense of the relative health merits of animal fats. So throw a pot of schmaltz on the fire—gribenes is good for you.

See more articles