Last weekend I spent the weekend with my parents and Coy Boy, relaxing and talking and laughing and eating, just as the Faulkners do best. My dad gave me two gallon ziplocks of lard from the homegrown hog they had in their freezer, and gave me all of the details on how to render it and then how to use the lard.
Last Monday morning, I began an elimination diet called the autoimmune protocol (AIP) to try to find the cause of my eczema. It has been zero fun, and thank goodness a friend is doing it with me or I definitely would have gone off plan by now. Anyway, I looked up lard, to make sure it was AIP compliant, and learned so much in the process that it makes me sad I haven't made it before.
Did you know lard has half as much saturated fat as butter, and, when rendered properly, can be used in baked goods? Lard is also the second highest food source of vitamin D (after cod liver oil). It's obviously not something you want to eat with every single meal, but I'm excited to swap it out for sauteing and other cooking that is done at high heat.
Anyway, all week I put off trimming the lard because using knives hurts my hands, and finally Friday night Josh cut it all down into small pieces and cut off any red spots or meat, and we put it in the instant pot on the slow cooker function to cook overnight. Uhh...in the morning it hadn't even made a dent. I transferred it to my trusty cast iron, the one from Josh's grandma, and kept it on low all day, stirring and babysitting and watching and waiting. I texted with my dad all day about it, and finally, after we had supper, it stopped bubbling, which means all of the water had evaporated.
We strained off the cracklings (which I was excited to try because I imagined they'd be like pork rinds but they were disgusting) and poured the fresh fat into mason jars.
It was dark. Not white. Insert all the crying emojis.
I moved on, relegated to the fact that I'd only be able to use it in savory cooking and not in baked goods, but still feeling energized by the project. When I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I noticed it was almost white! It gets lighter as it cools, apparently, so I was good to go!
Why is this story important?
It's not even about the lard. This story matters because it's a story of every day standing back up. I've been suffering from my eczema issues at this out of control level since the last week of July, and I haven't been myself. Normal Sara is always doing projects and researching new ideas and making plans and gathering humans and excited about some new thing at work.
2020 is hard for everyone, I know that. And it's causing depression and anxiety in people for the first time. We all feel out of sorts. And we need to stand up and keep taking steps forward in faith.
Am I completely "better"? Do I move forward from here and the pain in my hands just doesn't affect me anymore? Uh, no. But I stood up and took steps this time, so I can do it again. And I will. I'll have to, because 2020 isn't over and neither is my eczema fight and I'm sure this isn't the last struggle I'll have.