Celebrated Food Writer Embraces Awareness Campaign, Extols the Virtues of Traditional, Flavorful Cooking
Getting the year off to a robust start, the Healthy Fats Coalition today announced that Andrea Chesman, popular author of The Fat Kitchen: How to Render, Cure & Cook With Lard, Tallow & Poultry Fat (Storey Publishing, $24.95 paperback), has joined its growing roster of supporters.
With the addition of Chesman, authorof more than two dozen cookbooks, the HFC now counts among its participating members 26 organizations, companies and individuals. The HFC is a two-year-old educational initiative dedicated to showcasing healthy fats as an essential part of a balanced diet.
Chesman’s work has appeared in Food & Wine, Mother Earth News, The Denver Post, Cooking Light, Vegetarian Times, Organic Gardening, Fine Cooking andNatural Health, among other publications. She served as a contributing editor of Vermont Life for 12 years.
“For the dead of winter, The Fat Kitchen could not be more timely,” wrote Florence Fabricant in The New York Times on Dec. 31. “It’s a guide to preparing and using animal fats, indulgently or sparingly, in all sorts of delectable ways. Not just any animal fats, though. The author, a food writer who lives in Vermont, insists on fats from pasture-raised creatures, preferably rendered at home... In a book as dense as a doctoral dissertation, she covers chemistry, health, commercialization, safety, traditions and cooking… Cakes and especially pastries made with lard and duck fat may open new horizons.”
Or as Melissa Pasanen observed inSevenDays, an independent newspaper in Vermont, “the book celebrates the kind of cooking fats that were standard ingredients for cooks of [Andrea Chesman’s grandmother's] generation until public health and nutrition guidelines — combined with the rise of processed seed oils such as soybean and corn — pushed them out of most kitchens.”
"It took a year to convince my publisher," SevenDaysquotes Chesman as saying. "They were worried nobody would buy it because animal fats had been demonized for so long.” Recently, a movement to bring animal fats back into America's culinary repertoire has gathered momentum, the publication noted: “Advocates such as Chesman believe that fat from animals raised in specific ways can and should be part of a balanced diet, even delivering health benefits from good fats known as omega-3 fatty acids.”
"The picture has never been nuanced enough," Chesman told SevenDays. In his foreword to The Fat Kitchen, renowned food writer Michael Ruhlman summed up the situation accordingly: "We live in a time of widespread confusion about food." Fat, he says flatly, "isn't bad; stupid is bad. Healthful cooking and eating is about balance, not avoidance."
As an awareness campaign, the Healthy Fats Coalition reflects the marked change in how Americans think about the health benefits of healthy, minimally-processed animal fats. The HFC fosters an enlightened conversation about the food we eat, through news and editorial commentary, social media conversations, opinion surveys and more. Its mission is simple: affirm that animal fats deserve a central place in the American diet and in the popular imagination. Coast Packing Company, the leading supplier of animal fat shortenings in the Western U.S., took the lead in organizing the HFC.
“We’re delighted to welcome Andrea to the campaign,” said Eric R. Gustafson, Coast Packing CEO. “While processed food doesn’t always respect tradition, more and more home cooks represent a refreshing turn to authenticity in the kitchen. The HFC exists to remind everyone that animal fats are a big part of today’s dynamic food culture.”
The HFC is not a trade organization and is not in the business of promoting individual products or brands. Although commercial interests are welcome to participate in the campaign, the HFC is not itself a commercial organization. Support of the HFC involves no cost or obligation among participants. The Healthy Fats Coalition asks only that supporters post the HFC badge on their websites and various social media channels, and add their voices and ideas to the ongoing conversation.