Sunday, November 23, 2008

Word of the Day: Manteca

Manteca is essentially 'lard'. It's not exclusive to Costa Rica, but foreigners in the country will quickly take notice of this fatty staple. Costa Ricans will fry just about anything and everything in Manteca. Manteca has traditionally come from animal fat, but has recently comes from the next worst thing, palm oil. Just like animal fat, the majority of the fat in palm oil is saturated, which is bad for your heart. Costa Ricans will hear occasional news stories encouraging people to make the switch to vegetable oil, but manteca is well ingrained into the culture.

While I am often critical of manteca, it's only fair to point out that many Americans (myself included) have a diet that's much worse than the typical Costa Rican diet.

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