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A Slippery Slope: Jews, Schmaltz, and Crisco in the Age of Industrial Food, with Rachel B. Gross.
This event, originally scheduled for March 15, has been rescheduled as an on-line presentation on Sunday, April 19. Go to Jewish Community Library website (link below) to register to participate in this program via Zoom.
“The Hebrew Race has been waiting 4,000 years for Crisco,” Procter & Gamble announced in 1913. Since it arrived on the market, Crisco has been marketed to Jews as “truly clean and truly kosher.” In the early twentieth century, Procter & Gamble undertook a series of advertising campaigns to convince Jewish women to change their cooking fats of choice from butter and schmaltz (rendered poultry fat) to Crisco. Advertisements were targeted to Yiddish-speaking Jews, and included a bilingual Yiddish-English Crisco cookbook.
The effectiveness of this early instance of targeted marketing reveals how American Jews have changed as religious practitioners and as consumers. Jewish home cooks, generally women, were convinced to relinquish authority to corporate experts not only in matters of cuisine and health, but also regarding religious practices related to food production and consumption. Examining Crisco’s targeted advertising to Jews helps us ask who is—and who should be—an authority in the modern Jewish kitchen