Tis neither superstition not science, but it makes for a damn fine ghoulish story. Our beloved natural treasure, Sir David Attenboroug, he of Planet Earth fame, bought a piece of land that used to belong to the “Hole and Wall” pub adjacent to his London home with the intention of turning it into an orchard and garden. During the excavation, the builders discovered a skull that belonged to (or should I say was) Mrs Thomas, a widow in her 50’s who was murdered 132-years ago.
Mrs Thomas was murdered by Kate Webster who pushed her employer down the stairs, strangled her and chopped her body up and then boiled it down. That’s gruesome enough, but in true Sweeny Todd style, a few days after the murder, some boys said that Kate Webster had offered them some food and she said ‘ere you lads I’ve got some good pigs lard which you can have for free’. The boys ate two bowls of lard which was unfortunately Mrs Thomas. Eeeeuggh.
I recently tried Lardy Cake which originates from close by in Wiltshire. It is made from rendered lard, flour, sugar and spices. It was quite tasty but then I did not realize it was made with animal fat. Following the story of Mrs Thomas, I don’t think I will be eating it again.