How a Corporation Convinced American Jews to Reach for Crisco

For NPR, Deena Prichep reports on how Crisco, a kosher, vegetable-based shortening often used to fry latkes, found its way into the recipes of American Jews, especially around Hanukkah. Kerri Steinberg, author of Jewish Mad Men, reveals that in 1933 New York ad man Joseph Jacobs used a cook book called Crisco Recipes for the Jewish Housewife to promote Crisco to Jewish immigrants, who were eager to assimilate. Rachel Gross, a Jewish studies professor at San Francisco State University and a former postdoctoral fellow at the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, said, “The Yiddish-speaking mother, presumably, is going to bring a knowledge and a familiarity with traditional Ashkenazi baked goods. And the English-speaking daughter is presumably, Procter & Gamble hopes, going to bring a willingness to use modern products like Crisco.”

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