Embracing Good Fats {Cooking Class Recap!}

Right before we left for Alabama to spend the summer, I was able to host the first Real Fast Food Cooking Class. This was a dream-come-true for me, as I’m passionate about sharing real food recipes and hints with people who want to nourish their families well. It was a delight to have 8 other women, plus my friend Claire {who co-hosted} join me in my kitchen for some great information and yummy food. Here’s a recap of the evening for those unable to attend.

The Importance of Good Fats

{the scene: kitchen chairs and folding chairs arranged in my dinning room facing the kitchen counter peninsula. I’ve passed out the printable for our guests to follow along and take notes on. Claire stands at the counter with an array of different oils in front of her, and—a very old, very stained cookie sheet…}

Claire began by sharing some amazing facts about fat and how important it is for proper function of our bodies, especially the hormone system. She also explained how if you aren’t getting enough of good fats, your body will actually feel like it’s starving, and will actually kick into ‘survival mode’—storing whatever food you do eat on as body fat as if in preparation for a famine. If you are not giving your body the fuel it needs in the way of good fats, you are can be literally starving your system even as you gain weight!

Good fats:

Provide Energy
Build cells and hormones
Help satiate your appetite
Are a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K

Overcoming Misconceptions About Fats

We learned about the history of our understanding of fats in the diet—about faulty research in the 40’s that led to people cutting out all kinds of traditional fats from their diet in favor of over-processed vegetable oils full of free-radicals and lacking in the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids so crucial to healthy cell structure. The idea that fat clogs arteries is based on research done with these modern, un-natural fats. Good fats do not harm our bodies but are crucial to healthy cells!

Claire demonstrated how an over-processed oil such as canola or vegetable oil, when used in baking, coats a pan over time with residual crud that just won’t wash off—and she held up the stained and cruddy cookie sheet to demonstrate. Then she held out a jar of coconut oil, letting us all smear some on our hands and see how it simply melts into our skin, leaving no residual greasiness or scum.

Choosing and Using the Right Fats

Just like in every area of ‘Real Food’, our guide to choosing the proper fats is seeking out oils and fats that are as close to the way God made them as possible. And the oils themselves clue us in to their proper uses. Naturally saturated fat from plants grown in warmer climates or made from animal products that are solid at cooler temperatures and melt when exposed to heat are best for cooking. These include:

  • Butter—baking, eating
  • Lard (from pigs)—baking, deep frying
  • Tallow (from beef)—cooking, deep frying, sautéing
  • Coconut Oil—baking, deep frying, sautéing, mayonnaise, smoothies, eating
  • Palm Shortening—baking, frying,

Oils from cooler climates that are naturally liquid should not be heated (as they so often are to produce a solid-at-room-temperature product—as in vegetable oil being hydrogenated to produce margarine). These oils should be used for salad dressings and as a dietary supplement to ensure we get enough Omega 3 Fatty acids. Look for extra virgin, cold pressed (not expeller pressed or partially hydrogenated)

  • Olive Oil—salad dressings, mayonnaise
  • Flaxseed Oil—in smoothies, dressings, or taken by the spoonful
  • Cod liver Oil—in capsules or by the spoonful
  • Sunflower Oil—dressings, mayonnaise
  • Sesame Oil—dressings, mayonnaise

Cooking with Good Fats

Next, it was time to move to the kitchen where we all worked together to prepare some yummy snacks each featuring a different, nourishing fat used properly.

{the scene: 11 women in one kitchen, frying pancakes, cranking the stove-top popcorn maker, talking, laughing, and drooling over Peanut Butter Fudge}

Together, we enjoyed…

  1. Blini—Miniature pancakes made from homemade buisquick featuring lard. These were topped with,
  2. Shredded chicken tossed with Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing, featuring Olive oil and homemade mayonnaise made with a combination of Olive, Sesame, and Coconut Oils. (My mayonnaise recipe is in my book)
  3. Popcorn popped in coconut oil, and topped with melted butter.
  4. Peanut Butter Fudge featuring melt-in-your-mouth butter.
  5. To-Die-For Dark Chocolate Cookies with Coconut Oil (Recipe coming soon!)

Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe

  1. in a small bowl combine equal parts peanut butter and butter OR coconut oil (the butter makes a softer fudge, the coconut oil, when frozen, creates a harder fudge–both flavors are delicious)
  2. Mix with an electric beater, adding honey to taste.
  3. Pour into a small casserole dish or mini muffin tins.
  4. Freeze until hard.
  5. Cut or break into bite-sized chunks and store in freezer.

The fudge is best enjoyed straight from the freezer as it does get soft at room temperature. I like to grab a chunk while I’m cooking dinner–it’s the perfect combination of fat, protein, and yumminess to tide me over till the food is ready!

Good Fats: God’s Gift to Us

My favorite part of the evening was when Claire reminded us that God encourages us to embrace good fats! He created our bodies, and knows what is good for us.

“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Also…Proverbs 13:4, 11:25, and 21:20

After that the conversation went all over the place, from local raw milk sources to the best place to buy coconut oil, to the various sauerkrauts and cultured drinks I had bubbling away in my fridge. One of the attendees brought water kefir grains to share, I gave away milk kefir grains, and another woman had raw honey her husband produces. It was a inspiring and nourishing evening and we hope to do it again this fall.

The next class will be all about properly preparing and enjoying grains in your real food kitchen. Don’t miss it—subscribe to this blog or like the Real Fast Food Facebook page to hear the dates for the next class!

6 responses to “Embracing Good Fats {Cooking Class Recap!}”

  1. Brittany Avatar

    Okay, I am totally intrigued! Do you have any resources you’d recommend to learn more about the faulty research on fats? I would love to learn more!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Brittany, The Weston A Price Foundation has some very in depth articles on their website–I’d encourage you to explore over there!

  2. Natalie Avatar

    Yep, lard makes the best pie crust you will ever use. Perfectly flaky and not a finicky to work as a butter crust. The lard does add a slight savory tang, so I’ve used a 3:1 lard/butter mix with excellent results. I made an apple pie with that crust and empire apples (we only get them down here a couple times a year) which my father in law proclaimed reminded him of his grandmother.

    I’d like to see more sources on not heating plant oils because I’ve always heard that some oils can be heated – grapeseed oil for general sauteing, peanut oil for frying, and even olive oil can be gently heated as when you’re sweating onions for a sauce. Corn, soy, and canola oils are the ones we avoid.

  3. Rachel Avatar

    This sounds like so much fun! If you are ever interested in holding a class in NE PA, I will fill my kitchen full of new faces for you!!! 🙂

  4. Naomi B.a Avatar
    Naomi B.a

    Wow thanks! And here I am using olive oil for just about everything and thinking I’m being healthy 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar

      Naomi, I’m with you! It has only been this year that I finally began to understand the proper use of certain fats! I’m slowly transitioning my recipes that cook with olive oil over to other options. I keep reminding myself, it’s one step at a time in this journey. One recipe, one technique.

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