Lard was once ubiquitous in American kitchens for frying and baking. There are several types of lard that come from different parts of a hog. Leaf lard is naturally hard and preferred for baking. Softer lards are cheaper but need to be hardened for preservation and whitened for appearance. Labels on retail branded lards often said “pure,” but like most processed foods that was hardly the case.
B. Heller and Co.Collection 1896-2003. Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.