We live in a society which demonises fat, and I know why that is, but I think we have to stop for a bit. You need fats in your diet, you really do. Good fats. And believe it or not the bit of your not budget you spend on fats/oils is very important. Good quality fats can enrich your diet, in a way that no amount of low fat spreads can do and you are probably now going to have to find ways to get fat into your diet. Processed food again, is not suitable for this at the moment, although am sure you’ll get back to it. You now need to start enriching your diet and carefully adding fats and calories where you can.
This bit about butter is going to be quite long.
Butter is one of most versatile fats you can buy. You have to stop thinking of butter as a spread for sandwiches. There is not a recipe on this earth that cannot be improved by the addition of an ounce of butter somewhere in the proceedings.
Butter is your key tool for enrichment. The quality of butter matters. You can get butter cheap in Lidl, at much less than the £1.70 you will pay for an average pack of decent quality butter, but it is very very salty and of such poor quality that you can’t cook without it releasing a sea of odd tasting dinner ruining froth.
When you look at the caloric ratio pyramid on this very odd nutrition chart, butter is at the pinnacle. 1oz of butter is the addition of 200 calories. It goes against everything we have been brought up to believe but this is good, and that you can improve the taste and texture of just about any dish with the addition of this wonder stuff is one of natures miracles and a sign that you are indeed WINNING!
Olive Oil hasn’t been the preserve of the chattering classes since John Simm was doing Tesco adverts, and you can get decent sized bottles of Olive Oil for £2 at budget supermarkets. Olive Oil is useful because it is again, versatile, from salad dressings, to tossing spaghetti, to drizzling on whatever you can manage, this is a way to enrich just about anything, as well as all types of cooking applications. It can be whisked up with egg yolks to create mayonnaise, or aoili.
Is cheap and is good for frying, and keeps and doesn’t smell. You can buy a small bottle of sunflower oil for less than a quid and it will meet all your frying needs.
Lard costs about 70p a lb, 1.59 per kg, and is a very useful thing. Nothing can beat roast potatoes done in lard, and if you make pastry with half lard, half other fat*butter/baking margarine) not only do you cut the cost, but it gives you a really lovely pastry. It has fallen out of favour because it is an animal fat and saturated fat, but quite frankly I’d take my chances with lard over any number of over priced tubs of healthy plastic spread. Lard doesn’t have quite the versatility of butter but it is a very good way to enrich and a brilliant fat for cooking. It smells when it’s stale though, you can’t reuse it really.
Mayonnaise is fat. I happen to know that people with anorexia, trying to gain weight for doctors approval, have been known to eat spoonfuls of bought mayonnaise.
I couldn’t do this, but while I had the worst of the symptoms of malnutrition, I ate tuna mayonnaise by the spoonful. Mayonnaise is a good way to enrich a meal, and add fat. You can even use it in cooking, there are some stonking cake recipes out there that use mayonnaise instead of fat. You can buy mayonnaise quite cheaply, but some of it is a bit rank. Consider carefully whether the saving is actually worth it if you end up throwing it out because its inedible.
Margarines and Spreads
You can buy an infinite variety of margarines and spreads, they make different claims and many are useless for anything but spreading on bread and not great for that. I think they are generally expensive, but if you can find one that is versatile and cheap enough, that doesn’t make your mouth pucker, good luck to you.