Under the auspices of the Healthy Fats Coalition and coinciding with the arrival of spring, March 21 will mark the first annual National Healthy Fats Day, a celebration of traditional healthy animal fats—pure lard, beef tallow, duck fat, goose fat and the like—that are now enjoying a resurgence within America’s food culture, in restaurants, fast food operations and home kitchens.
National Healthy Fats Day is the brainchild of the HFC, a group of like-minded organizations, companies and individuals that have developed a new educational initiative dedicated to the proposition that healthy fats aren’t merely having a moment—they’re here to stay, as an essential part of the American diet. Its mission is simple: affirm that animal fats deserve a central place in the American diet and in the popular imagination.
For the HFC, National Healthy Fats Day is just the beginning. The Coalition is also promoting National Beef Tallow Day, set for July 13 (and coinciding with National French Fry Day), and National Lard Day, December 8, one day ahead of National Pastry Day, Dec. 9. The HFC’s message for each day: mark the occasion by tasting the difference yourself.
“Fat is the soul of flavor,” wrote Nina Teicholz in her groundbreaking book, Big Fat Surprise (Simon & Schuster, 2014). “Food is tasteless and cooking nearly impossible without fat. Fat is essential in the kitchen to produce crispness and to thicken sauces. It is crucial in conveying flavors. It makes baked goods flaky, moist, and light. And fat has many other essential functions in cooking and baking.”
“We wholeheartedly agree with Nina—healthy animal fats are on trend for flavor, wellness and sustainability,” says Ernest Miller, Corporate Chef for Coast Packing Company, a founding member of the HFC. “Artificial trans fats are out, and minimally processed animal fats—for superior baking, frying and a host of other cooking applications—are making a comeback. The color, texture and flavor that healthy animal fats impart make them a vastly superior alternative to heavily processed, industrially produced substitutes. More and more consumers are seeking out food that is made with integrity and respect for culinary traditions. Natural, healthy animal fats are a big part of authenticity in cooking.”
To drive that point home, Chef Miller will lead an educational session, “A Brief History of Fat,” on Monday, March 19, at Chef Connect: Newport Beach, a project of the American Culinary Federation (ACF). For those in Southern California seeking more information, email email@example.com.