Strawberries. Ahhh—the scent. Fresh-picked strawberries from the farmers’ market, still warm from the sun and ready to ooze red juice and satisfaction in an instant. Paired with whipped cream, strawberries are a beautiful sight, indulging the tastebuds of young and old alike. Cut vertically, strawberries reveal their heart shape in the center, symbolizing how deeply we love them. They’re healthy, too, which only enhances my personal enjoyment of these fruity treats.
Lard. What IS it? Defined as “The rendered fat of hogs, esp. the internal fat of the abdomen.” Yuck. It’s white, pasty with little odor or interest. Perhaps I could spackle the wall with it, I thought. Cook with it? Who would’ve imagined…?
My grocery shopping cart on a recent trip contained both strawberries and lard. The strawberries were on sale, and are always enjoyed in our home. The lard? Part of an old family recipe to make a traditional Italian Easter bread containing eggs, butter, cheese and the finale of the cholesterol-enhancing recipe, lard. I could have substituted lower-fat alternatives, I thought, but this was the real deal. I was baking something that was an old family recipe from my in-laws. This does not allow for change, I thought. How could I change a tradition?
I struggled with the crazy dichotomy of food in my cart. For so long, I’ve practice and mastered the art of making good choices at the grocery store. Why didn’t the cashier even give a second glace when she scanned the lard? I felt like a hypocrite, purporting to be a healthy example of low-fat living with a wad of the white stuff being placed in my bag. Somehow, though, it makes sense. Something about balance. I cannot be perfect like those strawberries all of the time. Sometimes I simply make decisions that are like the lard: boring, bland, unhealthy and messy. Tradition or not, we’ll have lard in our lives from time to time. It’s what we do with the rest of the time that counts. For me, it's faith in the Lord that helps clean up the messes.