Oh Lawd, I’m Out of Crisco

Just had my yearly physical.  So far so good.  Blood pressure was great as was my pulse rate.  Weighed less than I did last year.  I still have some work to do.  Gotta go to the orthopedist next week about my nasty shoulder.  If you don’t remember, go to my post “Ha, Ha, Ha! Stupid Man Goes Boom!”  The post will explain if the shoulder if the title doesn’t.  I’ll leave the link at the end. 

I’m anxiously awaiting my blood work results…you know lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, PSAs and such.  There’s a lot in the report I have no clue about.  Hopefully my doctor does.

Sugar…don’t forget the sugar…don’t want to come down with the sugar.  That’s Southern for sugar “diabetus” said in a ghostly Wilford Brimley’s voice.

I’m also several quarts of cooking oil low. Fourteen years ago, I made a lifestyle change.  I didn’t want to make the change exactly.  If you are more intellectually gifted than a rock, a heart attack and the resulting aftermath will cause you make lifestyle changes.  My Father’s voice joins Wilford’s, “Son, it is for your own good.”  Maybe, but I don’t have to like it.

While I might lean farther left politically than many of my Southern brethren, make no ham hock bones about it.  I am a son of the South when it comes to food and drink.  Southern fried anything, Southern iced tea so sweet it makes your teeth hurt, banana puddin’, bourbon glazed…anything.  Just don’t use the drinkin’ bourbon for the glaze.  I like to marinate myself while the ribs are smokin’.  The cheap stuff is on top of the fridge, the good hidden in the pantry. 

Make that once was a son of the South when it came to food and drink.  I gave up much to have good blood work.  No Southern fried grits nuggets…um, um, good.  If Paula Deen can deep fry mac and cheese, I can deep fry grits. 

As I write this, I’m considering what snacks I might eat while watching this evening’s viewing choices.  Some people might think popcorn…pretzels may be.  I’m thinking about breaded okra deep fried golden brown in Crisco with a side of pulled pork barbeque on white bread dripping with a yellow mustard barbeque sauce.  Maybe mayonnaise slaw for a veggie…wait okra is a veggie.  I’ve not gone off the rails. Just wishing…my snacks will probably involve air popped Orville’s.

Crisco…the “healthy” replacement for hog lard back in the day.  Growing up, it was a major cooking condiment. How quickly things change.  All those nasty trans fats. Crisco has removed them but still can’t outrun its reputation.

A solid at room temperature it melted in a hot frying pan and had a high smoking point.  Perfect to pan fried battered chicken or catfish.  Cheap, it was more easily accessible more than it was healthy. Crisco allowed us to save the butter for more important delicacies like buttering biscuits or making crust for pies.

I don’t know when my Nannie made the conversion from lard to Crisco.  She was a young girl when Smucker introduced the first one-hundred percent vegetable shortening made from cottonseed oil in 1911.  Cottonseed oil?  Cotton is a vegetable? There was a lot of cotton around, but if memory serves, we never ate it.  Now it is made with soybean oil.

The name Crisco is a modification of “crystallized cottonseed oil.”  Yum. Originally the name Chryst was suggested, with religious implications galore.  “Fry with Crisco! It’ll bring Grandma back from the grave!” Here in the South I don’t know if that would have been a selling point or blasphemy…I’m guessing the Southern Baptist would have eaten it up.

“You might be Southern Baptist if you woke up one morning craving fried chicken and interpreted that as a call to preach or you believe you’re supposed to take a covered dish to heaven when you die.” (www.kaydacus.com)

I remember the large blue tin with the red letters framed in an oval white.  It sat on a shelf within easy reach of the gas stove.  Seemed every meal featured something fried in Crisco.  Fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, catfish and hushpuppies, livermush. 

Tall and fluffy cathead biscuits made by cutting the Crisco into the flour with buttermilk.  The sound of cornbread batter being poured into a hot cast iron frying pan.  That explosive sizzle as cold batter met screaming hot Crisco oil.  I am salivating. 

If we weren’t frying with Crisco, we were frying something like fatback or bacon.  “Don’t you dare throw than bacon grease away!  Put it in this old Crisco tin, I’ll use it later.”  Flavoring gold it was.  Crisco is flavor neutral, bacon grease is not. Fried eggs, vegetables, hash browns (fried taters for my Southern friends) are simply better in bacon grease…as I remember.  “It’s been so long…Oh heavy sigh!”

In my transformed kitchen it is oven baked chicken in lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper, a crisp green salad with a vinaigrette, and sweet potato fries…the menu sounds pretty good. It just ain’t crispy fried chicken, potato salad, and turnip greens cooked with fatback, bacon grease, hog jowls or all three.

Well.  I just got my blood work back.  I’m as healthy as a ox…how do we know the ox is healthy? Anyway, cholesterol great, lipids great…and my sugar…my sugar is wonderful.  I think I’m going to celebrate.  Fried okra is in my near future.  It’s a year before I have to have blood work done again so I may add that pulled pork BBQ side dish.  Yeah, cornbread battered okra deep fried in Crisco.  No air popped popcorn for me.  “What do you mean we’re out of Crisco?…haven’t had it in years?”

***

Link to Ha, Ha, Ha! Stupid Man Goes Boom! https://cigarman501.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/ha-ha-ha-stupid-man-goes-boom/

Link to Don Miller’s author’s page https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR2gV2t9D5mJMRXox9JEm7959hs95fSapi1K30KIYtQuAax8JRWvyZtuc70

Images of Crisco cans from https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-advertising-tins-crisco-paper-1727753671

20 thoughts on “Oh Lawd, I’m Out of Crisco

  1. Morning. I never before today knew what Crisco stood for. And I’m not sure if it’s on my local supermarket’s shelves these days. I’ll be shopping there later today, and will take a look. I haven’t knowingly eaten anything made with Crisco in eons.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I, too, am a southerner born & bred, and I also bypass the fried foods and sweet tea for a healthier lifestyle. But I do celebrate every now and then with a good ole southern dish. I think I miss fried chicken the most!

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  3. HA! Thanks for the laughs and the memories, Don! 😀
    So glad all your tests came back gooooooood! 🙂 (I am still waiting on the results of one of my yearly tests.)
    Even tho’ she bought and used Crisco, my mom called it “lard”. 🙂
    We never fry anything. 😦 Bake, roast, some grilling, sauteing, etc.
    Right now I’d love some fried okra or some fried potatoes! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…”Sweet tea wishes and fried chicken dreams.” Ha! 😀 This is from “Lifestyles of the Not-rich and Not-famous”! 😉 😀 HA! Naw…I just made it up…a better take on the old Robin Leach TV show. 😀

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  4. Coach if you ever decide you want to cheat just let me know. That was the menu last weekend. Homemade pulled pork, smoked mashed sweet potatoes, fried okra (air fried so that’s got to count for something, right?), Mac and cheese, and slaw. Plus you know the liquor cabinet stays stocked can’t be a proper southern home without a good bottle of sipping whiskey.
    Congrats on your great test results as you’ve shown better discipline than I could manage!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yesterday I attended an online class presented by AARP on the subject of the history and development of American cuisine. The presented made a point somewhere along the line to mention that fried foods were brought to the South by slaves from Africa. I looked it up today and what I found online did not support that statement, nonetheless I thought this an ironic piece of history. Besides that, Crisco is featured prominently in one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies about the 20th century South – “The Help”. If you haven’t already, check out the scene between Minnie and Celia while the former is teaching the latter how to make fried chicken – just to see if any of the uses for Crisco provided you may have already known. As a So Cal girl, I certainly didn’t!

    I don’t have much of a cultural connection to lard, other than maybe that my Jewish bubbie (grandma) used to store chicken fat in a jar that was kept in the frig. My skinny-when-he-was-young father would sometimes slather that golden yellow stuff on a piece of bread, add salt and wolf it down. He also enjoyed other “delicacies” on bread – Hershey bars with butter, raw hamburger – stuff that makes me sick now to even picture but may have been more common in England where he spent his youth during WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First thanks for taking the time to both read and comment. There were two different lineages as far as fried food in the South is concerned Both the African Slaves and the Scottish (Scot-Irish) had learned to deep fry. Here in South Carolina we had many influences including the German “Dutch Fork” area in the center of the state. The locals thought the new immigrants were saying Dutch instead of Deutsche. Where I grew up there was a huge African influence when it came to food. Again thanks and Merry Christmas.

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