Why do we make oat cakes, empanadas and pie crust with lard at Smith Meadows Kitchen? After listening to NPR’s story “Who Killed Lard?” and many questions from Smith Meadows customers, it seemed important to address this. First lard makes for an incredible, flaky crumble of a taste experience in your mouth. Second it is because it is a natural by-product of the butchering of our pigs, so it is readily available. But, did you know that it can be good for you too? In moderation, we need a variety of fats in our diet. Ideally a healthy mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats provide a ratio (1:1) of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids vital to healthy nervous and vascular systems. Complex fats are essential building blocks for the protective coating of neurons that transmit important information in our body. Without the complex building blocks provided by these fat molecules, we compromise the ability of our body to maintain healthy brain function. A study of fat consumption in modern, industrialized diets high in manufactured or altered fats (hydrogenated oils and trans fats) shows an increase in type-2 diabetes, heart disease, depression and age-related cognitive decline such as dementia and Alzheimers. It’s worth examining the science behind these studies to figure out how our diets can affect our health..