Dissolve soda in buttermilk, stirring well; set aside. Combine sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt in a medium mixing bowl; mix well. Add buttermilk mixture, egg, and lard, stirring well.
Pour batter into a well greased 8 1/2- x 4 1/2- x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove bread from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in a large skillet over high heat; add bread slices to fill skillet. Cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Repeat procedure with remaining bread slices and bacon drippings. Serve hot.