Cool Food Book: Fat


Here is another very cool food book that deserves some attention. It caught my eye with the title – Fat. Yup, it’s a book about cooking with fat and it is as great as it sounds.

Discovered this book from an event that the awesome Kim Ricketts was hosting. The author is Jennifer McLagan; her first book was called Bones and this book focuses on the ultimate flavor instigator, fat. The book’s full title is Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. But just calling it Fat is pretty rad.

Chef McLagan uses scientific research to show that fat is beneficial and historical evidence to highlight that fat is important culturally. Plus its delicious. Raise your hand if the idea of bone marrow rice pudding gets you giddy. She was fun to listen to her talk about her viewpoints on food and fat; how fat was once considered good. Fat paycheck. Fat of the land. But the tide has turned in the last 30 years and now we’re more mindful than ever in our relationship with fat.

Her goal now is to debunk that thought and to highlight how fat is beneficial to us – that the push towards nonfat moved us towards toward refined carbs and things like high fructose corn syrup. But she isn’t necessarily a crusader, mostly she just wants to highlight how delightful and pleasurable fat can make food.

The book is broken down by butter, pork fat, poultry fat, and beef fat. And it’s littered with fun anecdotal stories and enough research to justify cooking with fat. Some of the recipes are fun to just read the titles. Here is the roll call for some that just sound delightful without even knowing the ingredients;

  • Brown Butter Ice Cream
  • Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with Fennel and Rosemary
  • Bacon Fat Spice Cookie
  • Foie Gras Butter
  • Bacon Baklava

I could go on, but I really do love this book. It’s probably my favorite food book of the year.

Give this book as a gift for your food friends that love the glory of bacon or the benefit of marbling or would embrace roasted bone marrow with open arms. You know, that friend that would gladly indulge in Bacon Ice Cream. The title alone will get the conversation started, but the content will keep the conversation going.