Professor Gross Explores Secret Jewish History of Crisco

Monday, May 11, 2020

JEWISH STANDARD (RIVER EDGE, NEW JERSEY) -- Wilhelm Normann invented hydrogenated fats in 1901 and received a patent for it the following year. The German chemist paved the way for a new world of food — and arguably also for a rise in hardened arteries and heart disease.

But it’s the impact of Dr. Normann’s invention on American Jewry that intrigues Rachel B. Gross. Gross holds the John and Marcia Goldman chair in American Jewish studies at San Francisco State University and recently contributed an essay, “Jews, Schmaltz, and Crisco in the Age of Industrial Food,” to a volume on the history and ethics of Jewish food published by New York University Press. On Sunday evening, she will talk about her findings at the behest of the adult education committee of Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck, New Jersey.