The Story of Crisco

When AEJ and I were antiquing in Massachusetts a few weeks ago, I found the best cookbook ever, first published in 1913 : “The Story of Crisco : 250 Tested Recipes”

Did you know that Crisco is kosher? It’s true. From the book…
“Rabbi Margolies of New York said that the Hebrew Race had been waiting 4,000 years for Crisco.”
I don’t even know what to say. Too… many… jokes…

Ever wonder what the Crisco factory is like?
“It would be difficult to imagine surroundings more appetizing than those in which Crisco is manufactured. In sparkling bright rooms, cleanly uniformed employees make and pack Crisco.”
That is a tour I’d love to take.

But is it safe to feed Crisco to my children? Boy is it ever…
The Importance of Giving Children Crisco Foods
“A man seldom seems to be stronger than his stomach, for indigestion handicaps him in his accomplishment of big things. Equip your children with good stomachs by giving them wholesome Crisco foods — foods which digest with ease. They may eat Crisco doughnuts or pie without being chased by nightmares. Sweet dreams follow the Crisco supper.”
I believe those would be sweet dreams of heart disease and bloat.

Procter and Gamble, the manufacturers of Crisco, also offer this assistance:
“We will go to any length to help you in the cause of Better Food. We realize that women must study this product as they would any other altogether new article of cookery, and that the study and care used will be amply repaid by the palatability and healthfulness of all foods. A can of Crisco is no Aladdin’s Lamp, which merely need be touched by a kitchen spoon to produce magical dishes. But any woman is able to achieve excellent results by mixing thought with Crisco.”

And with that, I give you a few recipes…

Fish Pudding
I’m not going to type this whole thing in, because reading about a pudding made of fish, Crisco, and milk, topped with a sauce of cream, Crisco, and onion — well, I threw up a little in my mouth. And that’s still in the first chapter of recipes…

Fried Chicken
You’ll be happy to know that the only ingredients for this recipe are “Chicken” and “Crisco.” No batter, nothing. Just get a chicken, and fry it in Crisco. Delicious. An alternate recipe is “Fried Chicken, Mexican Style,” which adds a clove of garlic, two tomatoes, a green pepper, and some extra Crisco. I’m not making any of this up.

Kidney Omelet
Oh, this one I have to try. Ingredients: 4 kidneys (from any animal — it doesn’t specify. beaver? sheep? your call.), 6 eggs, 6 tablespoons of Crisco, some parsley, and 2 tablespoons of cream. Basically, you just dice the kidneys and fry them in the crisco, then add them to an omelet. I think Denny’s serves this as a Grand Slam option.

Fried Egg Sandwiches
Includes Crisco, hard-boiled eggs, cream, and something called “fritter batter.” You’re supposed to free the eggs from the shells and “pound with Crisco and cream to a paste.” Then you spread the paste on a roll, cover the roll in “fritter batter” and deep fry the sandwich in more Crisco. Seriously. It’s not a fried egg sandwich like ” a sandwich with a fried egg on it” — it’s an egg sandwich, deep fried, with Crisco on the inside and outside of it.

I love a tasty sandwich — but I prefer they combine both Crisco and sardines. Does Crisco have a recipe for me?

Why yes, they do.

Sardine Sandwiches
2 tablespoons of melted Crisco, a dozen sardines, 1 tablespoon of whipped cream, and a tomato. Just spread all of that on a slice of white — or wheat, if you’re watching your health — bread.

But my absolute favorite recipe has to be:
Fried Parsley
Ingredients: Crisco, 1 bunch of parsley, salt and pepper
Wash, pick and dry the parsley; put into frying basket and immerse in hot Crisco for 15 seconds or until crisp. Salt and pepper to taste.

And for dessert…
Crisco Drops
1/2 cupful of syrup, 4 tablespoons of Crisco, vanilla extract, water, and salt. Melt everything in a saucepan, allow it to cool, and drop onto Criscoed tin. Makes twenty drops. Perfect for a holiday party — and acceptable for Passover! (I’m totally bringing these next year, Newman!)


Sarah says

1) Thank you SO much for this post. You have no idea how much I needed to laugh today.

2)I'm not a fan of this "woman" business. "We realize that women must study this product as they would any other altogether new article of cookery..."

3) Concerning your previous post, congrats on the Junkin gig. If you for some odd reason end up coming down to Texas for it, give me a call. I can't promise I'll take you to a restaurant where Brad Pitt has been, but I can get you a damn good margarita.

Lissajeen says


Cathy says

Fried parsley...wouldn't it just wither away to nothing in that heat?

Oh, the check has been written and I mailed it today. :D

Gary says

Actually, fried parsley is delicious. Don't know about the Crisco, though. Frying sage leaves in butter and olive oil makes a fantastic topping for pasta (along with crumbled gorgonzola and fried pecans) or polenta.

Jackie says

I have the hard-back version of this cookbook that belonged to my grandmother. I was looking through it last night and saw a recipe for fried lobster. I thought it might be an interesting appetizer. Has anyone tried it?

Jim Perreault says

I also have a hardback version, that I recently picked up. Unfortunately, the copyright page is missing.

But my subtitle is "615 Tested Recipes."

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