Proctor & Gamble needed a way to produce hardened soap from fats. They didn’t get a soap, but they did get a billion-dollar winner: Crisco shortening, which was introduced on Aug. 15, 1911.
The product, named for “crystallized cotton seed,” was the first solid shortening made from vegetable oil for cooking and baking. Hydrogenation ensures the fat remains solid at room temperatures.
Crisco soon became a cheap alternative to butter in recipes requiring fat. It remains the most popular shortening in the country.
In 2002, J.M. Smucker Co. of Orrville bought the brand from P&G and removed its trans fat. The company makes liquid oils of various flavors and cooking sprays under the name.Jim Hillibish is a food writer for the Canton (Ohio) Repository. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crisco Pastry Crust
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cup shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup very cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Sift dry ingredients. Cut in Crisco with pastry blender and mix until granular. Blend in egg, vinegar and water and lightly knead with hands. Refrigerate before rolling out. Makes four pie shells. They freeze well.