04 June 2009

There is a perfectly valid reason for that pound of lard in my purse.

It was fairly warm out today. I couldn't very well leave it in my car while I'm at the gym. Can you imagine the mess it would make if it melted? Egads!

What's that? Oh, you're wondering what on Earth would possess me to buy lard in the first place? Well, I can't blame you for wondering that. I never in a million years imagined I would buy, much less cook with, lard. I was grossed out by the idea of it fairly early on. But I grew up on a hog farm. So, my mom often cooked with it. That was years ago, though.

So, why am I buying and cooking with lard? This weekend, I plan to make my Grandma's overnight buns. They were such a treat for us when she made them. To this day, I've not had any sort of bread product as good as Grandma's buns. I'm drooling a little just thinking about them.

My mom sent me the recipe not that long ago, and I'm finally getting around to making them. They're fairly involved. First of all, I had to buy the lard. I could have used shortening, but a) I never saw a can of Crisco in my Grandma's house, and b) lard was almost a full dollar cheaper. Secondly, they are overnight buns. They require an overnight rise -- and that's after the initial four-hour rise. You have to punch down the dough every hour for four hours and then form the buns and put them on pans to rise overnight.

Oh, and one other thing: the recipe makes 90 buns. Yes, you read that right -- nine-zero. Obviously, I'm going to halve it. Still, that's four dozen buns. I will be using every flat surface and pan I own to get these made. As for the "warm" part of letting them rise overnight ... well, I'll probably end up letting them rise longer. My stove is minuscule and that's really the only warm place in the kitchen. Maybe on top of the fridge.

Grandma would start them at 4:00 in the afternoon and start baking at 6:00 a.m. As does my mom. I'll be mixing the dough when I get home from the gym. It means I'll have to stay up fairly late -- I can't imagine making all of those buns will go quickly. But I'm really hoping it will all be worth it and I will have a taste of home and my childhood. My grandma would be proud of me, I think.


Frank said...

For a minute I was afraid that you were going to make bacon fried in lard...

And by "afraid," I mean "excited."

Bitterly Books said...

I said that exact same thing last week!

Well, kind of, except I said "pile of empty beer cans" instead of "pound of lard," and I said "covering the floor" instead of "in my purse," but it's not that different, right?

Jess said...

Yeah, that's pretty similar, I'd say.

Man, if I needed to explain the bags full of empty wine bottles I haul out to be recycled every week ... someone would be getting nailed in the head with an empty wine bottle.

Oh Frank, I have so many bacony recipes I need to try and I'm so far behind. But I'm going to have a buttload of leftover lard ...

Little Ms Blogger said...

How odd is this...I was just thinking about lard. Seriously, I was.

I am in the process of a cooking experiment where I take 6 cookbooks I own monthly and try 4 recipes from it.

I was thinking about lard because my mom had given me her cookbook from the 40's and almost every recipe included lard.

Needless to say, that month will prove as interesting as last month's butter overload from my french cookbook.

Jess said...

Your cooking experiment sounds awesome.

I'm mildly disturbed by the fact that lard doesn't even need to be refrigerated after you've opened it.

Also, the first batch of buns are in the oven! Half of them fell at some point in the night. I think maybe they hit the tea towel covering the pan and that stopped them from rising. Boo! However, this means I won't have so many buns to eat.