Posted by: Erica Retrochef | October 17, 2011

Rolled Oat Goodies

No, I haven’t gotten around to re-mastering the tapioca recipe yet — I will soon, though, I promise!

This week (in celebration of both Pork Month and Cookie Month) we’ll be exploring the lard-tastic cookbook Queens of Cuisine with Swift’ning, “written by” Martha Logan. Why is “written by” in quotes? Because Martha Logan, despite being the renowned home economist who invented recipes and was regularly featured in advertisements for Swift & Company, was a completely fictional woman.

One of Swift’s products was Swift’ning. Technically, it wasn’t lard, but rather shortening, since it incorporated both animal and vegetable fats. (Swift did sell pure leaf lard for a while, but this wasn’t it.) Instead of Swift’ning, we’re going to be trying out our own homemade pastured-pork lard.

One whole cup of it.


Yield: 10 dozen

1 cup Swift’ning
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup ground raisins
2-1/4 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nut meats

Cream Swift’ning and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and raisins. Sift flour, soda, and salt together. Add dry ingredients, rolled oats, and nut meats, blending well. Drop by teaspoonfuls (size of walnut) onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake. Store in loosely covered box to retain crispness of cookies. These cookies do not spread much in baking.

Baking Temperature: 375° F

Baking Time: 10 minutes.

This is sort of a test of whether I actually can cook with lard. You know how there are some foods that you just won’t consider eating? I’m not honestly sure if lard is like that for me, or if maybe I just need to get to know it better.

OK, so this looks like a fairly standard arrangement of cookie ingredients, right? Except… that’s not butter. That’s pale greasy stuff in a measuring cup. That’s lard.

Lard apparently creams more or less like butter. Except it’s lard. (Yeah, this is going REALLY WELL.)

This is also the point where I notice a distinct smell of lard in the air. Uh-oh. Nobody wants to eat a cookie that smells like an old pork chop…

Once the sugar is added, it needs to mix “until fluffy.” This is one of those stages of baking that I never entirely understood, because butter and sugar never looks “fluffy” to me even when thoroughly mixed. I generally just go by color, and wait until the yellow gets a little more pale. That strategy isn’t going to work with lard and brown sugar, so it’s time to just guess and hope.

The eggs, vanilla, and raisins went in.

With flour, nuts, and oats, the batter got real thick, real fast. The mixer started groaning and whining a little bit.

And it still smells a bit like lard.

Scooped out and ready for the oven. On the plus side, this is probably the least interested in eating (instead of baking) the cookie dough that I have ever been.

And after ten minutes, rolled oat goodies were piled on cooling racks!

These were a big hit — even with me, and I don’t typically like “crisp” cookies. The lard-y smell was gone after they baked, and they were a tasty oatmeal raisin cookie. Maybe Martha Logan knew what she was talking about…

Queens of Cuisine has been preserved for public viewing on The Internet Archive, apparently scanned from a copy that had been discarded in a dumpster.



  1. Success! w00t!
    With the repeated refrain of, “and it smelled like lard,” I was a bit frightened, because even were I not a vegetarian, the brain-looking lumpishness of the leaf lard made me think of the zombie apocalypse, and the cries of braaaaaains, which kind of doubly made the whole lard thing a no-go for me… but these cookies are really gorgeous! And hey, if there’s something on earth that discourages people from eating cookie dough (other than the whole, “hey, raw eggs here” which stops very few), Eau De Old Pork Chop ought to do it.

    • Muslim and vegetarian colleagues are the main reason I’m not taking these in to share at work — I figure my two options are either accidentally feeding them pork, or putting a little warning sign next to the cookie tin, and neither one is a particularly friendly option. The only time I like to play “guess the weird ingredient” is if it’s something I know they wouldn’t mind eating (such as black beans in brownies instead of eggs).

      I gotta say, though, this did make nice cookies, and I’m probably going to try them again some time (with butter)!

  2. I have no fear of lard- many artificially rendered fats and margarines are way more scary to me! At least (although artery clogging if eaten too often) it is something from an actual living thing.

    I use little fat or oil in day to day cooking so a small amount now and then isn’t scary.

    Of course, people were more active back then so could get away with a higher calorie diet- less driving, TV, more manual labour etc’.

    • I will cheerfully admit that my fear of lard is entirely irrational 😀

  3. If it still had a hint o’ pork you could hop on the bacon train.

    • While the batter definitely smelled a little porky, I didn’t notice any particular flavor of lard in the final cookies. (For reference, I generally have no trouble identifying what kind of fat went into, say, biscuits.)

  4. When lard was all they had, lard was all they used and it seems to me, cookies tasted better way back when anyway!!! Your cookies are a fabulous addition to the Cookbook Party, Erica. And guess what, your is the first this week!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing, I’d love to sample one, or two…

  5. I’m glad to learn the ‘lard smell’ disappeared. Though if I made these cookies with lard and let them know, I would be hearing things like, “I THOUGHT this cookie had a bit of ‘oink’ to it”. Psychological reaction to the unfamiliar.

  6. Go lard!!! I am glad these turned out. And the dough eating deterrant is just a bonus. 🙂

  7. A friend of mine is going to render lard for the first time this year. Guess I’ll have to ask for the fat with next year’s pork order!

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