Let There Be Pie

About a year ago, I wrote a post bemoaning the transfats in shortening and a bunch of people suggested that I try a butter crust for making pies. I was generally pleased with a butter crust – it handles great and tastes delicious, but I was never totally happy with the fact that it seemed to get soggy. There’s just two people in our household and lest we make pigs of ourselves, we’re not really able to eat a whole pie between us (nor should we ever aspire to) before the crust got downright nasty.

Wednesday, Crisco announced that they have removed the transfats from ALL of their products. Not just that one, hard-to-find, green can of non-hydrogenated shortening, but the whole shebang.

Now that still doesn’t make Crisco a perfect product – as I’ve pointed out before, it’s made of t-shirts doused in pesticides. But butter has its failings as well, and while I’m not adverse to butter for specific, small-scale uses, I don’t always want the scary pile of cholesterol that a slice of butter-crust pie carries with it. (And yes, I’m a vegetarian, and yes, despite the fact that I’m a big gal, you’d kill your mother to have my cholesterol levels, but still – it all helps.)

So I think I might just have to switch back to shortening for my pie-making needs. With the health concerns pretty much evenly balanced now, it really does come down to taste and texture.

When Was the Last Time You Ate a Shirt?

I want you to find the nearest bag of potato chips. Hint – if you can reach it without leaving your computer chair, that’s a bad thing. Now, read the ingredients list. Unless your potato chips are the super-swank high-end organic kind, I’d bet dollars to donuts that somewhere in that list is either vegetable oil or cottonseed oil. Hint #2 – if it says “vegetable oil”, then quite likely it’s cottonseed oil, at least in part.

Next step, think about this, and it’s not a trick question – when was the last time you ate a shirt?

You’ve probably eaten cottonseed oil a great deal, though, without even realizing it. It’s now one of the standards for frying potato chips because of its high smoke point, mild flavour, long shelf life and low price. If you’ve eaten pastry made with Crisco shortening, you’ve eaten cottonseed oil, although the packaging only lists vegetable oil, and you have to dig hard and deep on the Crisco website to find an ingredients list.

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