Swift & Company was incorporated in 1885 by Gustavas Franklin Swift. Located in Chicago's Union Stock Yard, they became one of the largest and most innovative meat packing companies in the U.S.
Commercial refining of lard, an animal fat, was a natural path of diversification for the meat packers. It was one of many products developed to use the discarded portions of the cattle and hogs that were slaughtered for their meat.
The introduction of cottonseed oil as an ingredient in refined lard later led the meat packers into the production of shortening as well. Many meat packers produced shortenings both with and without vegetable oil.
Two of the products sold under the Swift'ning brand name were Swift's Bland Lard and Swift's Shortening.
Swift'ning Shortening, a lard-based product, was developed by Swift & Company during the 1940's. It was marketed as an all purpose shortening and contained a mixture of both animal and vegetable fats.
A number of recipe booklets were published to promote the use of Swift'ning brand shortening.
One such advertising promotion was found on a 3 lb. can of Swift's Shortening. The rear of the can featured a mail-in offer for the recipe booklet 77 Recipes using Swift'ning Make-Your-Own-Mix, by Martha Logan, the Swift & Company Home Economist. (1950, 34 pages). The purchase of a can of shortening was necessary as a paper disc from the top of the can had to be sent in to receive the booklet.
The recipe for Swift'ning Make-Your-Own Mix, a mixture of Swift'ning, flour, salt and baking powder, yielded 13 cups. Stored on the pantry shelf until needed, it could be mixed with milk and a variety of other ingredients to bake a variety of breads, muffins, waffles, cakes, cookies, puddings, dumplings and main dishes.
Another recipe pamphlet, a shorter version called Selections from 77 Recipes Using Swift'ning Make-Your-Own Mix was also published (1950, 6 pages). It featured a plain cover and 22 of the recipes from the original booklet.