Animal “shortening”? Say it ain’t so! June 18, 2010Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
Tags: lard, Twinkies, Utne Reader
Silence Dogood here. I was just scrolling through my e-mail and saw that The Utne Reader had sent its newsletter with the headline “Twinkie Ingredients Demystified.” Now, who could resist a headline like that? Certainly not yours truly. I may not indulge in Twinkies these days, but they occupied near-cult status throughout my childhood.
Scanning the page, I saw that the article was by a guy who’d decided to photograph all the ingredients in Twinkies. I clicked the link, expecting to be grossed out by a bunch of chemicals. Little did I know! Sadly, Utne only showed six of the photos; you had to go to the guy’s website to see them all. But that sixth photo stopped me in my tracks. The caption said “Animal Shortening.” And it looked like Crisco… or lard.
Animal shortening?!! Good God have mercy, what kind of euphemism will they think of next?!! Rushing to Google, I found that indeed, “animal shortening” was defined as lard, beef drippings, or rendered suet. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, the whole point of shortening was that it wasn’t lard. Either you used lard, or you used shortening (in our house, Crisco), which was made from vegetable oil. And never the twain shall meet.
As a passionate vegetarian, I have not been so shocked by any food-related revelation since they started putting gelatin in yogurt and candy (I had to give up Altoids and marshmallow creme, aka fluff, sob). Animal shortening?!! That’s lard, people. Let’s call a pig a pig. All I could think of was eating in a restaurant in San Antonio years ago and ordering refried beans. The horrified waiter told me I didn’t want to order that: “It contains the L-word.” “Pardon me?” “You know… lard.”
Eeeewwww, lard. To think that Twinkies contain the L-word, too. Unfortunately, I just returned from the grocery and am not about to turn around and race back out just to look at the ingredients list on the back of a box of Twinkies. But I’ll check it out next time I’m there. I’m very curious to see if they list “animal shortening” or just “shortening.”
If I find that it just says “shortening,” I may start rampaging through the aisles. Hey, I can always plead the Twinkie Defense.
‘Til next time,