I grew up in the 1930s-’40s on a farm that was built by my great-grandfather in 1848, carved out of the Maine North Woods. Those were “The Great Depression” and “World War II” days.

There was no electricity available, no power lines down any of the plantation roads. We all lived “off the grid.” Actually, pretty much lived as people had forever in that we provided for most of our needs: food, heat and lights with wood from our forest and wood stoves, and kerosene lamps and water from our wells. They had had gas lights before we little kids went to live with them but they no longer used them then. Maybe the gas wasn’t easy to get in those years.

Those were also the years when oleo margarine came on the scene. I remember the first time I saw some. It was at my Aunt Myrtle’s. It came in a sealed, transparent pouch with a capsule filled with dark orange coloring. You would pierce the capsule, squeeze out the coloring and then knead it into the white Crisco-like block of shortening. Aunt Myrtle (we never hear that name anymore) would let me do the mixing. That was fun but I didn’t like the taste. I still preferred our sweet butter churned from our two Jersey cows, “Boots” and “Dolly.” (Jersey cows are known for their beautiful big brown eyes shaded by long lashes and for the very high butterfat of their milk.) We used butter for the table and cooking.

We also made our own lard (research lard – organic lard is one of the healthiest fats) and butter for fats. We never used olive oil, vegetable oils or Crisco.

I now use only butter, lard, coconut oil, my own rendered lard, and organic butter. I make ghee from butter and also mix half and half ghee and coconut oil for use on breakfast foods, potatoes, etc. Ghee just melts into toast.

No room in a column to get into the goods and bads of different fats – trans-fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, hydrogenated, etc. That can easily be researched on the net.

Basically, my rule of thumb for buying anything is, “Is this a natural fat or a man-made fat?” I also read labels. Butter, for example, has one or two ingredients, cream or cream and milk. Man-made margarines list up to 30 ingredients.

Then along came the man-made fats with the long ingredient labels like vegetable oils and Crisco. I preferred Wesson oil, specifically for cakes. I also used Crisco. After I learned more about the “bad” versus the “good” fats, I stopped using either decades ago.

Grammie Mable and other housewives of the time didn’t need a chemical lab to make their cooking, eating fats. They used the natural fats provided from their cows and pigs: butter, lard and bacon fat. You can’t beat a pie crust or biscuits made with lard.

I stick to these three and coconut and avocado oil. I seldom use olive oil as it has a low burning point and isn’t that healthy after heating. In addition, it goes rancid easily where the others, except for butter, don’t. But I keep my extra butter in the freezer and for spreadable butter in the summer, I use the old-fashioned “butter bell.” Look it up on Amazon. I prefer the marble ones because they hold the coolness better. But butter — I even use it in my coffee — doesn’t last around my house long enough to go rancid.

Butter and lard have been the mainstay of fats for — well, forever.

But studies are now showing just how healthy they are. Take butter for example. Now it’s even being called a “super food,” especially for our brain. (That would be the organic, grass-fed, in the sun, like it was for millennia.)

The brain has 50% fat. Good old farm butter, organic from pasture-raised cows in the sun, contains, among other beneficial properties, vitamins A, B, K and D. These are all natural vitamins, not synthetic. Synthetic vitamins can contain things like cornstarch, petroleum oil or even coal oil. (I never get vitamins from supermarkets, big box stores, etc.)

Natural vitamins can pass the blood-brain barrier, the myelin sheath, to deliver the benefits.

One way to tell if a vitamin is synthetic or natural is by looking at the label. If the amounts of its constituents are listed as all containing the same amounts, like 100% this and 100% that, it’s most probably not natural. Natural vitamins, foods, etc., contain different amounts.

A new craze these days is “Bullet Proof Coffee.” A goodly dollop of butter from grassfed cows’ cream is added to your cup from a tablespoon up. I think that’s a bit much. I use only about a teaspoon along with some powdered ginger. I don’t use sugar so sometimes I’ll sweeten it a bit with maple syrup. Maine maple syrup, of course.