1951 Ad Claims: "Crisco Is Digestible!"

<!–digestible.jpg–>This is a very convincing advertisement from 1951 in which the fact that Crisco is “digestible” is highlighted as the most favorable characteristic of the product.

We are at a loss to dispute this fact. —MEGHANN MARCO

“Use Crisco. It’s digestible!” [Swankpad via AdFreak]


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  1. nweaver says:

    Given its nature as a hydrogenated synthetic blob of grease, and its new-at-the-time nature, such an add is not suprising.

  2. AcidReign says:

    …..Wonderful stuff. You can hardly even find it anymore at most stores. Shortening and conmeal mix are essential to great fried okra!

    …..Oh, I know it’s not healthy…

  3. timmus says:

    If you like this kind of stuff I can’t help but recommend Gallery of Regrettable Food (Amazon link). Same sort of 1950s weirdness. No wonder counterculture began to thrive.

  4. ElizabethD says:

    I went to a hypnotist once to get psyched to lose some weight (it worked! well, once, anyway). Under hypnosis, I was told that every time I got the urge to snack, I would visualize myself opening the lid of a big can of Crisco and packing handfuls of it on my thighs and butt. Great negative imagery!

    Just wanted to point out this additional use for Crisco, or the concept of Crisco. And it doesn’t even matter whether it’s edible.

    That being said: I always make my famous flaky pie crusts with Crisco. What else would you use? Please don’t say “lard.”

  5. Dacker says:

    I sooo clearly remember a series of TV ads in the 70’s for Crisco with the tagline, “Digestible, all-vegetable, Crisco!”

    It kinda rhymes.

    Hmmm. What rhymes with, “Partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil”?

  6. rg4vr says:

    What…..It isn’t??

  7. Dacker says:


    FYI, lard is still an ingredient in Jiffy-brand corn muffin mix.

    Also, my TV Food Network hero, Alton Brown, demonstrates his pie crust making using a 50-50 mix of shortening and lard. I guess it may be OK if texture and (maybe) taste overrule nutrition.

  8. rugger_can says:

    Cooking with any product like that is not healthy. So if your going to eat that crap then considering the pro’s and con’s of using lard or shorting is not going to matter much.

    Same crap different pile.

  9. Athenor says:

    I am going to be very, very fuzzy on the details with this, but I once had a chemistry teacher who went into a bit on hydrogenated oils. He came out of it basically saying that fully hydrogenated oils (like Crisco) weren’t exactly health food, but they did less damage on a cellular level that partially hydrogenated oils, which don’t naturally exist. It was eye opening, and I am so glad that I can get ahold of “organic” peanut butter these days.

  10. kerry says:

    @ElizabethD: Too bad lard is the answer. Lard and butter are great, Crisco has never worked right for me. We save our bacon fat for pie crusts.

  11. B says:

    Well, its got Olestra beat.

  12. SOhp101 says:

    Healthy guide to using fats/oils:

    Using olive oil for general purpose cooking is your best bet. Use light for general uses, extra virgin if you want that olive flavor. Other nut/seed based oils (such as sesame, walnut) are also very good but usually are used strictly for flavoring since they burn easily.

    If you want to fry, use peanut oil… it has a high burn temp and mild taste so doesn’t detract from the flavors of your food.

    Personally I don’t really like margarine/spread since you’re paying for ~65% of actual oil and the rest is water.

    Avoid these as much as possible:
    – shortening
    – hydrogenated oil/fat
    – tropical oils (palm kernel oil, coconut oil, etc.).
    – animal fats (with the exception of butter if you must)

    When using butter, try to mix it such as 1 pat of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil when cooking to even out the bad stuff. For baking use 75% margarine/25% butter if the recipe calls for butter.

  13. matukonyc says:

    Some fats (like solid Olestra) are not digestible.. that’s important to know!

  14. acceptablerisk says:

    It seems like a pretty good claim to me. The stuff was originally made to replace animal tallow in the production of candle wax. It’s a happy accident that it’s “also digestible!” since the candle market dried up quite a bit with electric lighting becoming common.

  15. The Unicorn says:

    Reminds me of the old slogan for Wheatables crackers, which was “Incredibly Edible!” I think they were just trying to be cutesy, but it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

  16. formergr says:

    Heh, timmus, I was so coming in here to recommend the Gallery of Regrettable Food. Loved the website so much, I bought the book…

  17. TechnoDestructo says:

    Is this what that salve salesman on Ren and Stimpy was referencing?

  18. unamericanvalues says:

    Well it’s good to know it’s digestible, just in case little Timmy eats a tub of that junk, Timmy’s parents will be able to go to bed rest assured that at least that tub of motor oil (crisco) was digestible, besides that one example i really don’t see how advertising a product as digestible would really wow customers. I could just see it know at the grocery store “wow I’m going to buy Crisco because it’s digestible and tasty.”

    Has corporate advertising really stooped this low?

  19. TechnoDestructo says:


    RTF Headline. Yeah, it stooped that low 56 years ago.

  20. TVarmy says:

    Yes, it’s trans fat, and some places are phasing it out. But don’t despair! You can now buy trans-fat free Crisco (fully hydrogenated, which is just plain saturated fat whipped with canolla oil). This substance has the same taste (Nothing noticeable) and very close texture. I’ve noticed that pie crusts made with it are a bit sturdier, but the difference is negligible and I consider sturdiness a feature when I roll a pie.

  21. TVarmy says:

    Now that I read the ad, it says that it makes it easier to digest fried foods. This makes a bit of sense if they’re implying traditional fats cause heartburn. Considering that Crisco is a vegetable product and people used to believe trans-fats were lighter and healthier, this makes a bit of sense given the knowledge at the time. Of course, it’s probably 100% bunk now.

  22. TWinter says:

    I think TVarmy has the right idea.

    It was probably a reaction to commonly held beliefs about heavy foods causing indigestion.

  23. gamble says:

    So, you know how the blocks of crisco come in those silver foil wrappers with the blue lettering? And how philadelphia cream cheese comes in near identical wrappers? Well, one day I decided to have a bagel with cream cheese. I ate about half of the bagel wondering the whole time why the cream cheese was so weird. Needless to say, I have been reading food labels carefully ever since.

    Not sure why I shared that story.

  24. LAGirl says:

    @gamble: you shared that story to give me a hearty chuckle!

    Crisco reminds me of my grandma baking in the kitchen. and she would save the cans to collect bacon grease. old school.

  25. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Yay trans-fat-free Crisco! I came back from the UK all ready to start making pasties when all this trans fat stuff started, and I’ve been using store-bought crust since, which is a travesty to the human race, since I make the world’s best crusts ever.

    And Alton Brown is dreamy, but he has weird ideas about what should go in food sometimes. Half lard, half Crisco? No lard for Spidey. And one time I read a recommendation of his for caviar with your scrambled eggs. :-/ No, I think I’ll just be getting along with my regular ol’ browned butter and sauteed garlic, kthxbye!

  26. etinterrapax says:

    I was wondering if there were any other Lileks fans here. He said in his blog that the new book he just finished is another Gallery of Regrettable Food! I can hardly wait. It’s my favorite thing on his site.

  27. oldhat says:

    @SOhp101: Um, you know that margarine is just Partially Hydrogenated Oil, right?

    No,look it up: PHO is plastic. It’s the root of all evil in our modern diets and must be banned.

    Say it with me: NO MO PHO!

    (and butter by comparison is not only delicious, but waaay healthier. Still, don’t gorge…

  28. Uurp says:

    There are Lileks fans everywhere. Kinda makes me nervous.

  29. comedian says:

    Reminds me of a Benny Hill joke set in WWII.

    You can add axle grease to butter
    without significantly changing
    the flavor.

    It still tastes like axle grease.