I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

July 24, 2010

Fat is Flavour

I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have a fat tooth.
Even my pregnancy cravings were for cream.

Surely fat is good for you, isn’t it? Look at the Mediterranean Diet, full of olive oil; and that book ‘Why French Women aren’t Fat’ while they’re swimming in butter and croissants!

The T.V. show Master Chef has been criticized for the amount of butter they use in their recipes, but they have the right idea-Fat Is Flavour! Of course, these types of recipes are Sometimes foods, not Always foods. Foods perhaps for special occasions, not weekday dinners.

Fat coats your palate and extends flavours- they last longer, they spread further. But... a little goes a long way. You don’t need to eat gobs of the stuff to get the best effect. According to an article in the Canberra Times this week, ‘there is speculation that fat should be added as another taste to the other five (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami)’ Hmmm... Interesting.

Less can be more. I much prefer a good quality chocolate with a higher cocoa fat content, like Lindt, than a sweeter, less fat chocolate like Cadbury. The satisfaction factor is higher and I don’t need very much to satisfy me.... Unless my husband is annoying me, or there's a sad movie on, or I'm feeling hormotional,...I digress...

Most comfort foods have a decent amount of fat in them. Think about what your favourite childhood dish was. Even the good old roast dinner was cooked in, and exuded, fat. And don’t even get me started on Wagu Beef. The fat marbling is even graded! Most of course is rendered out during cooking, but again, the fantastic flavour remains.

Anyway, for Mothers Day this year I received a jar of Duck Fat. (Also 85% dark Lindt chocolate, also Chocolate Covered Wild Figs, also Mango infused Honey- see a pattern emerging?) We have huge tubs of duck fat at work to use for confitting duck marylands, but I have never had it on its own without its original poultry owners. So, good friend that I am, I decided I would bite the bullet and experiment with it to save you the financial and waistline expense.
I know how much you will appreciate it.

I ratted through the pantry for vegetables and some things to roast. I really need to think things out before I just jump in... I came up with: Jerusalem Artichokes, Baby Taro, Kipfler Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin and a Chicken. Great! Now, I know that my choice of veggies was not the best for roasting. A floury potato would have been a much better option, but I went with what was on hand.

Step 1: Prepare veggies. As the veggies are peeled they need to be placed into acidulated water (fancy way of saying water with a squeeze of lemon) to stop the surface browning.

Step 2: Preheat oven to a good high heat, at least 200*

Step 3: Dry veggies and rub with duck fat- duck fat is such a rich, meaty scented and flavoured vehicle for roasting, I really wanted to see the difference it made to the veggies and chicken compared to the vegetable or rice bran oil I normally use.

Step 4: Roast those babies! I baked the veggies until they were golden brown, soft inside and slightly crispy outside.

They smelt fantastic!
They tasted fantastic!

The rich meatiness of the fat came through amazingly. I roasted the veggies separately from the chicken so there would be no flavour contamination to skew my amazingly scientific experiment, but you would swear they had been baked together. The chicken was also the best flavoured I’d cooked. Surprisingly, it was like chicken.... but more so. The duckiness is not at all obvious, it just oomphs up the natural taste of the chookie.
I don’t think the fat content was too high at all. By roasting at a high enough temperature, the veggies crisp on the outside without it soaking in, and by placing the chicken on a rack to cook, it not only crisps underneath but all the excess fat drips off too.
The amount of fat I used was only a couple of tablespoons all up, and nearly all of that was left in the tray at the end of cooking. A pretty good result I think.

So Readers, in this particular case, I definitely feel that I have undeniably, scientifically, once-and-for-all, proven beyond reasonable doubt, that Fat is indeed, Flavour!

Wouldn't you agree?


  1. One day I will figure out exactly how to get my photos lined up with my text...sigh...

  2. What about the gravy you made with all that left over fat juice? Dosnt that count?

  3. Hi Simcha, to make a great gravy it's best to skim off most of the fat and just leave all the yummy brown bits of flavour and juices and use them.

  4. You had me at 'Surely fat is good for you'; but never one to shy away from a true scientific test, I anxiously read, with great interest as you unveiled your now fully proven, never to be quibbled over again argument that fat is indeed the flavoursome morsel that that has for years been one of my great cooking companions! :)

  5. I most definitely have a fat tooth too. I looove butter. Duck fat is great too. This weekend I met a woman who said "I make it a policy never to eat anything made with duck fat" because she thought it was gross (she wasn't vegetarian). I knew that we'd never get along :P

  6. Fat is most definitely flavor! I save all of my drippings for uses such as this. I especially love roasting potatoes in schmaltz or using half butter, half bacon fat in my dumplings and biscuits (not cookie biscuits - rolls ;) )

    This fits in very nicely with my personal motto of - The worse it is for me, the more I like it. :)

  7. Oh my - how delightful!!! I love that your present for Mother's day was so 'foodie' oriented :)

  8. Thankyou Anna, I knew that this would be an important breakthrough for the community.

    Michelle, I'm glad you agree, and impressed you have such an agreeable motto.

    Lorraine, what a horrible experience for you! I wouldn't get along with her either.

    And Lisa, all my presents are like this... at first my BigJ was obsessed with buying me knives and sharp shiny things that would appeal to him, but eventually I had a tissy-I mean I pointed out I wasn't impressed. I guess he figures you can never get enough food, and this way he gets to share!