I am not really sure what to say about this. I doubt I would ever win anything like this, firstly because my sculpting skills are non-existent, and secondly, and more importantly, I don’t have any lard ( I don’t want any either ). If you have some then sculpting it into something attractive is, in my opinion, preferable to eating it.
It’s nice to know that the Chefs from the Queens Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment won catering awards for sculptures ( first a wire structure was made and then the animal fat added ). I am glad that they had the time to create a dragon and a Buddha statue.
“Lance Corporal Amrit Limbu, 27, used three 11lbs blocks of lard to create the Buddha statue, working for up to 12 hours a day for eight days” reports The Daily Telegraph. Eight days. Thats a good use of time, wouldnt you say?
Lard is pig-fat that is most often hydrogenated, and therefore quite unsuitable for human consumption. Hydrogenating fats can be complete or incomplete, neither is good, but the latter are known as trans-fats, the use of which have been banned in New York City, as well as in Switzerland and Denmark with other countries likely to follow suit very soon. The process of hydrogenation makes the fat more solid which makes it perfect for sculpting, not eating or using in cooking.
Crackling is also lard, prepared in a different way to the white lard that Lance Corporal Limbu used, as it is exposed directly to heat. Crackling, crunchy and tasty though it may be, is perhaps potentially more detrimental to ones health than the white lard as it has a low smoke point and has been damaged by exposure to heat. So that’s crackling out too.
Lard has a high smoke point, ie it doesn’t burn at lowish temperatures like olive oil would ( lard contains a high level of saturated fats which dont burn easily ). The food industry often use it for this very reason, as it can be heated without giving off smoke that might affect the flavour of the food.. Lard is often found in pastry, especially flaky pastry, so if you find yourself reaching for a pre-made pie, do yourself a favour and check the label or ask at the counter.
Bear in mind that the same pie is banned for health reasons in some pretty sophisticated parts of the world, so no New Yorker, Swiss national or Dane would eat it, and you wouldn’t want to break rank with a Dane, would you?