Reading About Vegetable Shortening Helped the Time Slide By

I recently went on vacation. One of my vacation indulgences is to buy a magazine to read on the plane. I know, that doesn't sound like much of an indulgence, but really how often do we get to take the time to read through an entire magazine? This trip I bought a copy of First for Women, healthy living made easy, the March 2009 issue, Bauer Publishing. I learned many interesting things about losing weight, easing back pain, how to sleep better, exercise more efficiently, suppress a cough with dark chocolate (dark chocolate is amazing!) and of course I read dozens of recipes. But the article that really caught my attention was about a substance that I have in my cupboard all of the time - Vegetable Shortening. I had no idea there were so many uses, other than cooking, for Shortening.
The article is titled 10 Brilliant Uses for Vegetable Shortening by Dana Squilla.
Here are 4 of the shortening strategies that I'm anxious to try:
  1. Remove ink stains from vinyl upholstery - Put a little vegetable shortenting on a clean dry cloth. Gently dab at the stain with the cloth until the ink is gone. Rinse with a soapy sponge and let dry. It seems that the palm oil in the shortening, "seeps into the materials fibers, attracting the ink's oils dissolving the color residue, so it washes away without a trace." Cool!
  2. Wash automotive grease and oil off of your hands - Before you wash your hands rub them with the shortening. The shortening should dissolve the grease so that it will easily rinse away.
  3. Soften Winter heels - Cracked winter heels? Before bed give your feet a soak in warm water and then massage them with shortening. Wear cotton socks to bed and rinse the shortening off in the shower in the morning. The result - softer feet.
  4. Vegetable shortening face paint - In a small cup, I think that a Styrofoam egg carton would work perfectly for this, combine 2 Tbl corn starch, 1 Tbl shortening, 3 drops of food coloring. Mix a different color in each cup. For applications, use paint brushes, make up brushes or Q-tips. This will wash off with mild soap. I like to use baby shampoo.

I was a little disappointed that they didn't mention my favorite use of Vegetable Shortening - pie crust. Here's a recipe for the way that my family would prefer that I use shortening:
Double Pie Crust
2 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup unsalted butter (if you use salted butter adjust the salt to 1/4 tsp)
6-7 Tbl ice cold water

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. With a pastry cutter, cut in shortening and butter.
Start by sprinkling 3 Tbls of water over flour mixture. Toss with fork. Add water one TBl at a time until dough barely holds together. The key is to not overwork the dough. Turn the dough onto a well floured pastry cloth or clean counter top. Divide in half and roll out with floured rolling pin.
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