What the heck is Oleo?!

I recently was loaned a cookbook by a friend.  This is no ordinary cookbook. The Ladies Aide Society Cookbook from the Central Schwenkfelder Church (Pennsylvania).

Now let me tell you, these recipes are amazing.  You’ll be seeing quite a few of them on this blog from time to time.  But there has been one overarching challenge to using these recipes – one that I often have with some of my grandma’s recipesIngredients that don’t exist anymore.

One ingredient, in particular: OLEO. I have asked myself on more than one occasion lately “what the hell is oleo”… the answer – I learned – is simple.  Margarine.

Simple, right?  Here I was convinced it was some mythical “crisco-esque” substance that would make all my cakes perfect, my muffins moist, and my brownies delectable.  All that is true, but there’s no magic to it… just plain old margarine.  The reason many grandma’s refer to Oleo in recipes is interesting.

While I’ve long been a staunch butter lover (I blame my mom)… I have been told, in certain instances… margarine is better.  Granted, it’s b/c it has more oil content and makes things unbelievable moist (along with clogging the arteries)… but still, worth considering…

-Eat Hearty


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