Pastry and Soap

My mother made a good pie crust.
She also make a good laundry soap.
Okay, you shrug. What do those two things have to do with each other?
Well, they share an ingredient – LARD

When we lived on the farm and it was time to butcher a hog for our own eating we’d call the butcher associated with the local locker plant. He would come to the farm, kill the animal we selected, and do a field dressing sort of procedure before he took the remaining portion of the animal to the locker plant.
It was at the locker that the animal was cut into the various chops, roast, and steaks plus portions ground into sausage. The customer selected according to general guidelines how they wanted it cut and wrapped. A flash freeze was included in the price. Then, either you stored it in a rented locker or transported it to your home freezer.
One question the locker always asked: Do you want the leaf fat and trimmings?
Most years my parents requested them. They would bring them home in large, waxed boxes. Then mother would set about rendering down the lard.
It took a day and both of her large stock pots to do a good job of it. The house filled with the scent of hot fat. The cracklings (bits of skin and cellular material) were scooped out from the bottom of the liquid lard in the pot, drained and strained through a cloth for every drop of good lard before they became a treat for the chickens. The rest of the lard was strained and set to cool. Much of ours in later years was stored in wide mouth quart jars. Some, mostly for soap, was poured and cooled in an earthenware crock with a tight lid.
Creamy white lard gives a fine texture and taste to pie crust.
And the soap???? That story’s for another day.

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