[Sca-cooks] Thought this was an amusing article

Heleen Greenwald heleen at ptd.net
Wed Jan 3 10:56:05 PST 2007

> Jews And The Crisco Crisis
> Judy Oppenheimer
> Special to the Jewish Times
> DECEMBER 29, 2006
> There’s no question that the world has changed a lot since I was a  
> kid way back in the ’50s. No one back then was into fitness or  
> thought much about their health. No one used car seats, seat belts  
> or bicycle helmets. A family dinner without a big, fat slab of red  
> meat was considered a little unusual. A house in which not one  
> adult smoked was deemed odd.
> A woman like my cousin Helen, who went to a gym and took vitamins,  
> was viewed as narcissistic, if not completely nuts. (By the way,  
> Helen’s still around, healthy as a horse and absolutely stop-you-in- 
> your-tracks gorgeous at 80.)
> But times have changed. Today, we’re all concerned about fitness,  
> organic produce, seat belts, car seats, etc. And there’s no  
> question, if it means the younger generation ends up healthier,  
> it’s a damned good idea. So are smoke-free restaurants, airlines,  
> parks, stores, museums, theaters.
> But New York City has taken all of this one step over the line. It  
> recently banned trans-fats from every restaurant in the area. Trans- 
> fats are also known as partially hydrogenated fats, or not to  
> unduly complicate matters, Crisco.
> It turns out Crisco — that is, the old, original Crisco in the blue  
> can, because the current owners, Smuckers, have rushed to turn out  
> new, updated, non-lethal versions — is trans-fat all the way. Pure  
> poison.
> How the mighty have fallen. When Crisco first came out in 1911, it  
> was hailed as a great breakthrough for Jewry. An early Crisco ad  
> quoted a rabbi as saying the Hebrew race had been waiting for  
> something like this for four millennia. It was considered, in fact,  
> the second oil-based miracle in Jewish history.
> Crisco, you see, that unappetizing mound of creamy lard, is pareve.  
> It can go with dairy or meat. In fact, check out the can, if you  
> can still find one — the old kosher mark is still there. No  
> question, for the Jewish housewife, the coming of Crisco was a  
> world-shaking event.
> Some time later, Procter & Gamble, the original purveyors,  
> published a small pamphlet of recipes aimed at the Jewish  
> housewife. It was called "Crisco Recipes for the Jewish Housewife,"  
> published in English and Yiddish. Included were recipes for matzoh  
> balls, blintzes — and pie crust. (The pie crust is the important one.)
> I sincerely doubt anyone has ever used Crisco to make blintzes. P&G  
> officials didn’t incorporate their product into the main recipe (a  
> very decent recipe, by the way) — how could they? But they did urge  
> customers to fry blintzes in Crisco. Chalk that up to a company  
> blind spot. No one’s perfect. But with the pie crust recipe, P&G  
> made up for its mistake. In fact, it reached heights rarely matched  
> in the realm of product cookbooks. The pie crust recipe was the one  
> my mother used all her life, and subsequently the one I use — it  
> happens to be the best pie crust recipe on the face of the Earth —  
> apple, cherry, lemon meringue, pecan, key lime, pumpkin.
> Very few people know how to make a good pie crust these days. The  
> craft is fading out, fast disappearing from the collective  
> consciousness. But at least a few of us retain the talent. And we  
> know one thing — if the old original Crisco gets drummed off the  
> shelves by the food police, a perfect pie crust will be a thing of  
> the past.
> And nothing is going to replace it.
> Now, I realize, at this point, Crisco has only been banned in New  
> York City restaurants. Presumably, it’s still available in stores.  
> But there’s no way to stop that kind of steamroller once it gets  
> started. Today, restaurants in our largest city. Tomorrow, who  
> knows? Everywhere else? And can supermarket shelves be far behind?
> You think, "Well, how important is it that a single pie crust  
> recipe remain?" You think like this because you haven’t had my pie  
> crust. In fact, if you’re under a certain age, you may have never  
> had a perfect, old-fashioned, partially hydrogenated, Crisco-laden  
> pie crust. Your taste buds have been dulled over the years by a  
> progression of heavy, hard, non-flaky, tough-as-cardboard crusts.  
> You simply know no better.
> Look, even I have changed with the times. I eat red meat maybe once  
> a month. I go to the gym. I pop vitamins. My grandchildren have  
> bike helmets and car seats and organic veggies. But by God, if  
> anyone is my family is going to eat pie, it’s going to have a  
> decent, delectable, trans-fat-infused crust.
> Already, the old Crisco is beginning to be phased out, just a bit.  
> However — ah, the wonders of trans-fat — a can will last, as a  
> rule, for quite a while. Years, even. I’m starting to stockpile.
> If you’re smart, you’ll do the same. And if you’re lucky, you’ll  
> find someone who knows how to use it the way God intended.

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list