Possible Stupid Question

I suppose I could just research it online, but I've been on a really crazy deadline for an editing project and I'm in serious need of Serious Eats interaction.

Here's my question: What's the difference between vegetable shortening and lard; are they interchangeable? Lard is obviously from animal fat, but what the hell is Crisco then?

The reason why I ask is that tomorrow is my great uncle's 76th birthday. He loves my cooking and he loves old time, southern comfort food. I'm going to make him mashed potatoes and gravy, fried pork chops, black eyed peas and buttermilk biscuits.

I don't have vegetable shortening, but I DO have a huge tub of lard I bought for like, three bucks at my local Mexican grocery store. Can I use a mixture of butter and lard in my biscuits, or is that a horrible idea? Will it give them a bad taste? Will that even work?

Please help. I wake up too late and have to cook too much tomorrow and I'll never make it to the grocery store for vegetable shortening.

Thanks in advance!

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