Monday, March 19, 2012

Caught In A Snowdrift

In 1926 the war between Shortening and Lard was in it's 5th year.  Both were fighting for supremacy in the hearts and minds of housewives across America.  The main brands of lard were Armour and Swift's and on the opposing side was Crisco, Spry and Snowdrift.  I don't really know what happened to Spry and Snowdrift over the years.  Most likely they were gobbled up by Crisco leaving them the dominant force in shortening.  As for the war between lard and shortening, shortening won by default once WWII started as lard was needed for the war effort.  Post WWII eating habits changed and eventually both lard and shortening were relegated to the wayside as olive oil became the dominant fat in our cooking, followed soon thereafter by canola oil and the virtual horde of so called healthy oils that have infiltrated the market like Grapeseed Oil.

I remember when I was younger we still used shortening for some things, biscuits, cakes and icings mostly and this was considered the "healthy" alternative to that big 'ole tub of saturated fat that is lard.  That is until we "discovered" trans fats.  Then all of a sudden we drifted back to lard which has made a long overdue reappearance due to the influx of Mexican Immigrants.  So which one is really best?  I use lard wherever possible but stick with Crisco when making cakes and frosting.  Turns out the fat in lard really isn't as bad for us as they thought and while Crisco still uses some partially hydrogenated fats it keeps the trans fats to less than .5g per serving.


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