Butter, oil, tallow, lard, schmaltz—nutritionally crucial yet often villainized, at once rich yet cheap, fat is one of the most paradoxical categories of foods we consume. Shaping every cuisine on earth, fats in their various forms come with myriad cultural and symbolic meanings, playing an important role for a variety of people, from poor farmers to decadent aristocrats. Fats tells the story of this extraordinary substance—alternately reviled and revered but nonetheless always a crucial part of our diets.
Michelle Phillipov considers the changing fates and fortunes of fats across time and around the globe. From their past associations with prestige and social authority to their links to fast food and overindulgence in modern times, she explores the different meanings, debates, and controversies that have surrounded this staple food, which has been both an invaluable source of nutrition and the bane of public health concerns. She also looks to its current renaissance in media and popular culture and the renewed appreciation it enjoys as an important part of traditional foodways that stretch back all the way to prehistoric times, when the Paleo diet was even more popular than it is today. Dripping with recipes from around the world, Fats reveals and celebrates that one ingredient that makes everything taste better.
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