Just Add Lard

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

I’m not a big fan of pie (I know, it’s un-American) but as I talked to my grandfather about this old lard press, his eyes lit up and I think he even licked his lips just a bit when he said, “Lard makes the best pie crusts.” Good thing Grandma was a good pie-maker.

Patented in 1897, this lard press had dual purposes. First, after fat had been cut into pieces, you’d heat it (melt it) and put it into this press. As the handle was cranked, the lard ran out of the tube at the end and they’d put it in gallon or half gallon syrup cans to harden and use for cooking purposes later. The residue that was left after the lard was pressed out was called cracklings.

Its second purpose was to fill sausage casings. You’d slip the casing over the end of the tube, tie the loose end and stuff the casing with ground sausage.

The only kind of pie my husband will probably see is from Sara Lee and I doubt if she uses lard.

Until our next history lesson …