Monday, June 27, 2011

Blowing Your Mind With Crisco

Crisco Shortening, 1950's
I've recently discovered Google Reader (because I live in 2004 apparently), and it has changed my life.  Rather than spending hours reclicking on the countless blogs I love just to check if there is anything new, now I just go to this one simple place and get a continuous, constantly updating feed of new posts from all of my blogs.  It's amazing.  And it's so efficient that sometimes I don't know what to do with myself, what with all the time I've saved by not hitting refresh all over the place.  Fortunately, it also recommends posts for me, so the procrastination truly can go on forever.

And today, these very recommendations led to an etymology post!  That old nerdy favorite that no one cares about but me.  First one since 2008 (not that you care)!  Unlike most of the etymology posts, this one comes from our own English language.  But, like all of them, it's based on hazy and vague sources, and may not actually be true.  Meh, undeterred.

It comes from Chris Loves Julia, the blog of a sweet young family in Utah, from a post about a fine local pizza joint with reverence for the true meaning of shortcake:

"Most often when we hear someone talking about strawberry shortcake, what they are referring to is angel food cake topped with macerated strawberries and whipped cream from a can. When a cake or bread is referred to as "short," what that means is there has been something added to the mix to shorten the gluten strands (gluten is the protein found in flour, and just like protein in meats, it forms long, elastic strands). Things that shorten gluten strands include Crisco (also referred to as "shortening"- did I just blow your mind?), oil, and butter. The fats get in the strands of gluten and break them apart, creating a crumbly texture." 

What?!  This is what shortening is all about, shortening of gluten strands?  Yes, Chris Loves Julia, you have totally blown my mind.  This is amazing.  And I want shortcake.

thanks to Roadsidepictures for the photo


  1. totally fascinating. And I must tell my grandma!!

  2. "That old nerdy favorite that no one cares about but me." Umm, and me! Hello, friend.

  3. i love you people. including grandma!

  4. This is awesome! I am putting it in my textbook.

  5. yay! including grandma, and jay. obvs.