The Secret to a Good Lard Massage
Lard. Just reading that word makes me twitch my upper lip into a disgusted contortion; much like when I see people spit on the street or eat their boogers. I love butter, but lard is like butter’s creepy uncle that invites himself over for dinner and shows up naked.
Lard is pig fat, pure and simple. It can be obtained from various parts of an oinker, from the fat deposit surrounding the kidneys to the layer between its back skin and muscle. In America, lard is the victim of terrible associations (see above) and is the root for such insults as “lard bucket” and “lard ass.” Also see: America’s problems with obesity.
Most everywhere else, lard is seen as a useful ingredient in delicious baked goods. It apparently makes the flakiest, best-tasting pie crusts and is equally appetizing when spread on bread. At a restaurant in Italy, patrons are privy to salumoterapia, described by Faith Willinger in The Atlantic as, “Italian spa meets pork, a re-tox program.”
At Hosteria da Ivan outside Parma, one can schedule a mortadella mask, prosciutto wrap and lardo massage. But how much lard is slathered on one’s skin in order to achieve the presumably softening effect of a massage?
Willinger says, “It really depends on how large the body of the person getting the massage is.” For a 135 pound, 5’8” woman, the answer is about two cups. “Keep in mind that you want ‘lardo pestato,’ lard that is spreadable, not sliced,” Willinger adds.
There are worse things than submitting to an hour of relaxation by lard. Pure fat must give skin a lift, an innate plumpness that mimics the smoothness of a pig. Plus, it’s a psychological departure that requires relinquishing your fear of fat. So next time you’re in Italy, or you see lardo pestato in Whole Foods, pig out. Two cups of lard will do you good.
[Photo: the lard you'll need. From tellumo]
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