Q & A: February 6, 2011

From now on, every Sunday, I will be answering your questions. I’ll answer as many questions as I can each week.

"Yes! Even Goggle Hasn't All The Answers"

Welcome to CHEESESLAVE Q & A!

From now on, every Sunday, I will be answering your questions.  I’ll answer as many questions as I can each week.

If I didn’t answer your question this week, please check back next week.

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If you have a question to submit, please email it to me at questions@ cheeseslave dot com.

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Rendering Duck Fat?

I was excited to learn that one of the co-op stores here now carries frozen packages of duck fat.  How would I render this?  Is it similar to rendering pig fat?

Is it also similar to lard in that you can freeze it in jars or keep in a cupboard if the jars seal, and is it stable and long-lasting once thawed/opened and refrigerated?

— Beth

Hi, Beth.

I love duck fat! It is especially good for French fries.

Does the package say “rendered duck fat”?  If not, yes, you will need to render it.  Rendering duck fat is easy — you can do it just like you render tallow or lard.

I have kept duck fat in my fridge for months.  From what I read online, you can store rendered duck fat for up to 36 weeks frozen, and up to 12 weeks refrigerated.  Twelve weeks in the fridge sounds about right, but I would think you could store it in the freezer for years. It’s similar to butter or lard, which will keep a long time in the freezer.

I would not, however, store it in a cupboard or on the counter.  Refrigerate it unless you plan to use it right away.

Here are some links for you to read more about duck fat:

How to Render Duck Fat

CHOWHOUND Discussion About Duck Fat

Raw Liver?

I want to start eating raw liver for health reasons. I have a very hard time  eating it cooked, the texture and taste just don’t work for me even though I’m trying sooo hard to like it and expose myself to it.

So I’ve decided to do what the Weston Price website says to do and that is to cut fresh liver into pea-sized pieces and freeze for 14 days. Swallow like vitamin pills.

My question to you is how much liver should I eat this way per week? Or day?

Also how much can my 3-year-old eat? I also have a baby on the way and when she starts solid food how much grated liver should she eat?

— Anna

Great questions!  I gave my daughter raw grated liver and egg yolks when she started solids, which she ate happily nearly every day for almost a year.

While you are pregnant and nursing, it would be best to follow the WAPF Guidelines for Pregnant & Nursing Mothers.  They say you should be eating 3-4 ounces of liver once or twice per week.

I have this Escali Primo Digital Scale

and I love it.  I use it almost every day to weigh and measure things in the kitchen.

What you could do is weigh your weekly ration of liver (anywhere from 3-8 ounces — go for the high end if you want a healthy baby) and then chop it up into your “pills,” then simply divide it up over the span of 7 days.

If you don’t like the “fresh” liver pills you can also find dried liver capsules. Sally Fallon Morell recommends the Carlson’s raw beef liver capsules.  I have found them at the health food store.

For babies, WAPF recommends starting babies on a daily egg yolk (lightly cooked, still runny) at about 4 months. They say you should add a small amount of the frozen, raw grated liver to the egg yolk, at about 6 months. (Add a pinch of sea salt, too).  Read more about what the WAPF recommends for feeding babies.

For older children, I would say, get them to eat as much as you possibly can.  The general rule for kids is half as much as adult would eat, so if you can get your preschooler to eat a few ounces of liver per week, that would be awesome!  A century ago, the rule was they ate liver for dinner once a week in American households.

My daughter has gotten a lot pickier now that she is 3, but I just keep offering it.  I think she will come back around in time.

Fish Oil vs. Cod Liver Oil and Boxed Chicken Stock?

My friends love their fish oil.  Is that as good as cod liver oil?  Or could they be doing better with their supplements?  Any harm to fish oils?

What is wrong with those easy to use boxes of chicken stock?  WAPF doesn’t endorse them.  Are they lined with BPA?  All brands?  Even organic?

— Lucy

No, fish oil is not anything like cod liver oil, particularly the fermented cod liver oil.  And it is not recommended.

Fish oil does not have the fat soluble activators, vitamins A & D like cod liver oil does.  It is also highly refined and processed and is almost always rancid.

According to Sally Fallon Morell:

“Nor do we recommend fish oil, as it is invariably rancid (they boil it at 230 degrees for several hours!!) and also will overload with EPA, which is not desirable. For pregnancy and lactation, we recommend 2 teaspoons fermented cod liver oil in the context of a diet rich in butter, egg yolks and organ meats. For a maintenance dose, 1 teaspoon per day, all year, unless you are a lifeguard and getting huge amounts of vitamin D from the sun.” (Source)

Regarding boxed chicken stock… au contraire, the Weston A. Price Foundation does endorse canned or boxed chicken stock.  Of course it’s always best to make your own, but if you can’t, it’s better to buy it than not consume any bone broth at all.

If you become a member of the organization, you will receive an annual shopping guide (I love mine!).  In the shopping guide, they list the foods that they recommend.

Under stocks, they list a number of options under the “Best” category, including a number of small farms that sell prepared stock, and companies including Perfect Addition, Kettle Cuisine, D’Artagnan, and more.

Under the “Good” category, they list Health Valley and Shelton’s brand chicken and beef broth.

Age Spots

I am 31 and have been noticing an increase in age spots on my arms and hands.  What causes these spots?  Is there something that I can do nutritionally to minimize them?

— Rachel

Lucky for you, there is a whole article on this topic by Dr. Thomas Cowan on the Weston A. Price Foundation website:  Age Spots

In the article, Dr. Cowan writes:

“If you are suffering from excessive or early onset of many “liver” spots, you may want to increase your consumption of good fats, colored vegetables and other foods with high anti-oxidant levels. This may not get rid of them, but it will help prevent new ones.”

Interestingly, I have seen many testimonials online from people saying that Lugol’s iodine helped them get rid of age spots.  I think this might work, since I had a similar experience using Lugol’s iodine to completely remove an ugly mole on my thigh.  (I never updated that post but the mole is now completely gone. Lugol’s iodine was the only thing I used.)

Real Food Restaurants in Los Angeles?

Hello Ann Marie, I’m a reader of your blog living in the LA area and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for some real food restaurants in Los Angeles. I’ve managed to find a couple here and there but I’m always searching for more.

— Ariela

Thanks for the question.  This is one of my favorite topics.  I’m planning a move to Texas this year, so I’m eating out as often as I can at my favorite LA restaurants.

Now, keep in mind, I am not one of those folks who freaks out about every last detail when I go out to eat.  I figure that I’m eating really well 80-90% of the time, so when I go out to eat, I just enjoy it.  That said, I do choose restaurants that are a cut above the rest.

First and foremost, I look for restaurants with a real chef running the kitchen.  Any chef worth his salt will not use pre-packaged ready-made ingredients.  Chefs tend to make their own stocks and homemade sauces, bake their own bread, use butter and cream in their cooking (instead of hydrogenated vegetable oils that come in the ready-made foods,) and tend to shop at farmer’s markets for many of their ingredients.

Will they use all grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish?  No, they will not.  Will the butter and cream be grass-fed?  No, not usually.  Will they use good fats like tallow or palm oil for frying?  Nope.  Will they properly prepare their grains like using a sourdough starter and soaking their rice?  Probably not.

That said, you can eat a very good, nutrient-dense meal at many, many chef-run restaurants in Los Angeles.  You will find excellent cheeses, soups and stocks made from bone broth, organ meats, lots of seafood, and many other nutrient-dense foods.  I find it inspiring to eat out because I discover new ways to enjoy these foods.

For example, just last week I ate at Osteria Mozza.  For starters, I had a delicious calves liver appetizer and some Burrata cheese.  For the main course, I had an excellent plate of roast duck with Brussels sprouts.  I was also thinking of ordering the sweetbreads (thymus or pancreas) — I wish I had.

Here I will just name a few of the restaurants I frequent in town and the brilliant chefs who preside over them:

Josie – Chef Josie Le Balch
Joe’s – Chef Joesph Miller
Grace – Chef Neil Fraser – currently closed; I’m anxiously awaiting their opening at their new location, the downtown Vibiana Cathedral
Lucques, Tavern and A.O.C. — all run by Chef Suzanne Goin
Osteria Mozza – Chef Mario Batali and Chef Nancy Silverton
Nobu – Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

There are also many great sushi restaurants in town.  In addition, there are many less expensive, more casual seafood restaurants that have awesome seafood. For example, I love Duke’s Malibu and The Reel Inn.

We also have some wonderful little French bistros and brasseries.  Right here in my neck of the woods, Culver City, there are two excellent French restaurants that I love:  Saint Amour and Meet.

And the brand new French place in Santa Monica that is my new favorite:  Madame Chou Chou.  (If you go to Madame Chou Chou, order the calves liver.  You will not be disappointed.)

This is by no means an exhaustive list. As I’m getting ready to hit publish I’m thinking of all the chefs and restaurants I am leaving out.  Like The Border Grill run by Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.  And the fabulous new British gastropub, Waterloo & City — they have a wide selection of foie gras, pates and other charcuterie including pig’s trotters, smoked tongue, and sweetbreads.

And the wonderful little Santa Monica French cafe — yes it’s a chain, but it’s great — Le Pain Quotidien.  They make some of the best French bread in Los Angeles — and yes, it’s naturally fermented with sourdough.

And all the incredible Ethiopian restaurants, and Thai and Brazilian restaurants… oh and my favorite Indian place, Akbar — seriously awesome grass-fed lamb and cheese naan to die for — plus an amazing wine list.

So as you can see, we are spoiled rotten here in LA.  Raw oysters, wild salmon roe and raw milk at the farmer’s market and a plethora of truly fabulous restaurants.

Why am I leaving this incredible city to move to Dallas?

If you must know, it is because my dear mother does not live here.  My plan is to move closer to her so that she can be closer to her grandchildren.  This is the greatest gift any daughter can give to her mother.  It will also enable us to save money (it is very expensive here, which will allow us to travel more frequently and allow my inlaws to see their grandchildren more often.  Again, the greatest gift I can give them.

And yes, they have oysters and raw milk in Dallas.  And many fantastic chefs!  (And did I mention my LOVE of Tex Mex?!)

But I digress.  Please comment below if you have a restaurant to suggest in Los Angeles.

Got a Comment?

I don’t claim to have all the answers.  And I love hearing from you guys!  If you have feedback on any of the above questions and answers, please share your thoughts n the comments below.

Got a Question?

Please submit your questions to questions@cheeseslave.com. I’ll answer your questions every Sunday in the order I receive them.

Photo credit:  Sirwiseowl on Flickr