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The weird ex-husband of an old friend of mine used to pour leftover bacon fat into an old coffee can after breakfast, which is normal enough. Then when the can was full, he’d scoop the stuff into a pan, fry onions in it, let it cool, and spread big spoonfuls of the grease onto dark rye bread. It was the most revolting thing I’d ever seen. But lately, more years later than I care to remember, I have been craving something like this — and I swear, I’m not pregnant. Is this an actual dish I can find in a restaurant, or do I have to fry my own disgusting bacon?
Barbara, Woodland Hills
Was the ex-husband raised in Germany by any chance? Because the Alpine Market in Torrance makes something very similar out of fresh hog lard rendered with coarse salt, onions and the odd kummel seed – Griebenschmalz, they call it, which sounds like, but is not, the dish that your bubbe may have made with leftover chicken skin. Griebenschmalz is great smeared onto pumpernickel, melted onto English muffins, heated to fry potatoes, or tossed into a pot of simmering sauerkraut that you intend to serve with sausages. If you think about it, Griebenschmalz tastes a lot like French rillettes that nobody bothered to fortify with actual meat. As long as you’re picking up some lard from the deli case, you might as well hunt around through the market’s superb selection of housemade sausages, imported chocolates and Eastern European beer. 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance, (310) 327 2483.