26 October 2011

Better Than Bacon. Yeah, I Went There.

Guess what this is!

Yes, it does look like an octopus, but it's not. Guess again.

Now do you know?

Hmmmmm....what could it be?


No, I’m not calling you fat. These are slices of lardo, which is fat taken from the top of a pig’s back and then cured with sea salt, clove, nutmeg, white pepper, black pepper, rosemary, bay leaf, and coriander. Silky and succulent, sliced so thinly that it dissolves on your tongue in seconds, it leaves your mouth coated with an herbal luxuriousness that even bacon cannot rival. If you know any vegetarians, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to feed them this product, since there’s no meat in it whatsoever. Just fat, la la la.

The dude behind the counter explained that his favorite way to serve lardo is to lay an entire slice on a hot piece of toast so it can melt into the bread. I decided that my preferred method is to lay the entire slice right on my tongue and roll it around in my mouth for a bit, all the while savoring how full and wonderfully rich my life is at that particular moment, and how there is no place in the world I’d rather be than standing in front of the fridge, hiding from my children, and sucking on pieces on fatback from an acorn-fed Iberico pig imported from Spain.

Bonus: You don’t need chapstick or moisturizer for at least a week.

And if you can spare some extra, it’s a good treat for getting babies to do tricks:

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you where you can purchase this fine substance. We picked ours up at Panozzo’s Italian Market in the South Loop. You can also order it directly from La Quercia, a company in Iowa that produces award-winning artisan salumi. My Christmas present to myself is going to be a tub (or three) of Iowa White Spread from La Quercia, which is basically lardo that is whipped up and smooshed into a tub. Personally, I think 'Meat Butter' has a better ring to it than 'Iowa White Spread.' Well, almost everything has a better ring to it than 'Iowa White Spread.' Then again, the more I say 'Iowa White Spread' to myself, the more catchy it becomes.
I can't wait for my Iowa White Spread. Luckily I have lardo to hold me up in the meantime! Phew.