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“The Yellowed Menace”

The most interesting and informative polemic you are likely to read on the future of Jews and margarine, courtesy of Tablet Magazine:

The Jewish love affair with margarine started in 1911 when Procter & Gamble pushed Crisco (its new “scientific discovery”) on every housewife in America, sending free samples to grocers and having “Crisco teas,” a phrase that made me gag until I realized it was more like a Tupperware party to introduce the stuff to women rather than a new kind of drink. Make no mistake: Crisco, which is labeled as “vegetable shortening,” is margarine. Any kind of hard fat is shortening. Regular shortening, or shortening without any qualifier before it, is lard. Vegetable shortening, a term created to highlight Crisco’s vegetarian quality when it debuted, is margarine. The only problem is, throwing around the phrase “vegetable-based” is misleading. The products of the earth that exist in this stuff (cottonseed oil) aren’t really “vegetables” in any meaningful way. Crisco and margarine are vegetables about as much as a cigarette is; just because it’s vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s a vegetable. But who could convince the Jews of that? They finally had a hard fat for their pastries. Crisco was an immediate hit with the kosher crowd. In the 1914 book The Story of Crisco, a smitten New York rabbi named Margolies is said to have noted that the Jews had been waiting 4,000 years for Crisco.

Butter is great, but some of us ate a lot of delicious gravy-and-margarine sandwiches when left with their grandpa, you know?


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