“As for Me and My House, We Will Serve Butter” — Why I Cook With Old-Fashioned Fats

My apologies to the book of Joshua for playing with the famous Bible verse, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). But my altered version pops into my head almost daily as I reach for butter when cooking and eating.

And it’s not just butter I favor. I cook with bacon grease and goose fat too.

Nothing against olive oil! You’d find two bottles of extra virgin in the cupboards if you went snooping for it. But I prefer the old-fashioned fats, and I don’t think my family is any worse off for it.

In fact, after four months of eating my cooking, my fiance’s extra weight has dropped off. He’s at a weight he says he hasn’t seen in 10 years. Is this because I load him up with salads, veggies and “good fats”? Far from it! Part of it is the manual labor he’s putting in at the farmhouse. But he’s still eating well and plenty and our meals not of the Weight Watchers mentality. Our meals are what I call wholesome and healthy, but not low fat. Because it’s winter and we eat seasonally, we are eating homemade bread, butter, soups, stews, pot roasts and roasted chicken. Lunches are leftovers. Breakfasts consist of toast smothered in butter and homemade jam, homemade granola or home-grown eggs.

This is not diet food, folks, yet my weight stays the same and my fiance’s has dropped–even with my lavish use of the old-fashioned fats.

I think it’s because our focus is on homemade, simple, wholesome meals, eaten at the table together. This isn’t fancy fare by any means. Nor is it prepackaged or processed.

Will I ever be labeled a foodie or named a gourmet cook? Nope. Nor will the Food Network coming knocking, offering me my own show. But my family will eat well, both healthy and satisfied after every meal.

I also reach for these old-fashioned fats because they put to use what would otherwise be discarded. Bacon grease is poured into a jar and used to make scrambled eggs or for sauteeing onions as the start of a soup. And goose fat is a seasonal treat for me, one I have around only during the winter. I roast a goose for Christmas dinner, and get enough fat from that to last through March.

Don’t crinkle your nose. Goose fat is good stuff! It’s almost flavorless, making it preferable to olive oil. Nor does it brown as quickly as butter. And–like bacon grease–it’s free, a byproduct of my other cooking.

Someday soon, my butter will be free too, when our small farm dream is a reality and I have my dairy cow!

Until then, I will serve–and cook with–butter from the store, mindful that my family’s meals might make a dietician shudder. But the proof is in the pudding as I look at the flattened tummy of my fiance and the health of my teenager…and my own weight that has stayed the same all these decades.

Want to feed your family better? You don’t have to use butter to do so. I suspect if your meals are of the simple, seasonal, wholesome kind and homemade and eaten together with time for talk, your family will eat better regardless of the kind of fat you choose.

And that makes for family meals that support local food systems.

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