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Cooking with olive oil


Onceuponatime
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145 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you cook with olive oil?

    • I cook with olive oil , and haven't heard/read anything negative about it.
      102
    • I cook with olive oil in spite of negative things I have heard/read.
      37
    • I don't cook with olive oil because of negative things I have heard/read.
      5
    • I don't cook with olive oil because I personally know of someone who has experienced bad effects from doing so.
      0
    • I hate olive oil.
      1


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I'm a little confused about all the advice I've seen around the net lately about not cooking with olive oil at all. I can understand not cooking with it at high heat because of its smoke point, but not ever? Many health gurus seem to be parroting this advice, saying it becomes toxic or carcinogenic when heated. Does anyone here know where this originated and if it is accurate?

 

I've seen other sites with Italian cooks basically laughing at the suggestion that heating olive oil, even at low/medium temps can harm you.

 

What do you think? Do you have any links to actual studies done?

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olive oil is my primary oil. Butter is for eggs and toasting nuts. I think I still have 1/2 a gallon of other oil for baking purposes, but I usually use applesauce for baking. So a gallon lasts a LONG time (oh, unless I fry something, which happens like 2x a year LOL. DH hates the smell of fried stuff in the house.)

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I use it to cook, but I keep it below smoke point. Unless of course I forget about something on the stove top.....

 

We've started using bacon grease for thing like frying eggs and such. The kids love it.

 

I use coconut oil for things like pancakes because I like the flavor.

 

I've also now read that grilling/BBQing is really bad and turns the food carcinogenic. So do we use our grill or not? That's the question. I'm beginning to think we should just eat what and how we want because truly we (the experts and gurus) just don't know.

 

I mean think about the mummies they just discovered to have heart disease and these people were eating the types of diets that *should* prevent heart disease. The scientist said in the interview that it's clear we are missing something when it comes to heart disease.

 

We sure don't have a grasp on cancer. Too many variables.

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I googled but couldn't find anything about not using olive oil at all. All I could find was about not cooking with olive oil above it's smoke point, which kills all the healthy benefits of using olive oil.

 

We use olive and coconut oil for cooking and baking, peanut oil for frying, and butter for anything. :)

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The idea that high smoke points make an oil heathful for cooking is a falsehood. Look at (feel) a pan that has had canola or grapeseed oil heated to a high temperature. The stuff polymerizes into a hard and sticky gunk. It is very hard to scrub off. It does the same things in the body. It forms Gunk.

 

If I really need to work at a brutally high heat (which is rare), I use peanut oil. Otherwise I use the healthiest fat available, which is extra-virgin olive oil.

 

Bill

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ok, what i think i understand from what I've read:

 

Olive oil is one of the healthier oils

Olive oil is healthier when it is raw (like on a salad) than when it is heated to fry things in

IOW . .. its healthier to eat your foods roasted instead of fried, and eat your veggies raw w some oil and vinegar rather than fried.

 

however . . . we americans like to cook things in oil. When i roast veggies i coat them in olive oil. for baked fries i usually use peanut (or soy). When sauteeing veggies for a recipe, i am mostly using olive oil these days, occasionally coconut oil or earth balance (dairy allergy . .. )

 

I try not to really fry things much, but when i do, currently i'm using peanut oil . . . the occasional treat of fried instead of baked french fries, salmon patties, whatever

 

on my grill pan i usually use spray cottonseed because i'm allergic to canola

 

and . .. you know . . you cant be PERFECT at anything .. . there is no perfect diet. I had a friend who had a friend who ate a vegan macrobiotic diet and died of cancer. My friend (in that chain above) was vegetarian and extremely low fat and died in a car accident.

 

Dont eat a lot of fried foods. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Dont panic. Try to enjoy your food!

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I didn't vote as I wasn't sure how to answer. I don't usually cook with olive oil as my mom and grandma taught me to use grapeseed oil or coconut oil for cooking most things, butter for potatoe type things, and then olive oil was used for the fresh foods. I never really thought anything of it. It was just what we do.

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I voted "I cook with olive oil and haven't read negative effects about it," but that's not entirely true. I do cook with olive oil when I think it's the right oil for the job, but its smoke point is lower than some other oils, so it's not the right choice for everything. I mostly use olive oil for salad dressing or occasionally in a marinade or the like. When I do cook with it, it's almost always for green beans, because we like the way OO tastes with green beans when they're sauteed. Sometimes we use it for sauteeing spinach also. Usually, though, I use coconut oil or (real) butter for browning meat or cooking other vegetables; OO with snap peas, for instance, is more oily than we like, but we like the way they taste with butter.

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The idea that high smoke points make an oil heathful for cooking is a falsehood. Look at (feel) a pan that has had canola or grapeseed oil heated to a high temperature. The stuff polymerizes into a hard and sticky gunk. It is very hard to scrub off. It does the same things in the body. It forms Gunk.

 

Oh bosh, find me a source other than Mercola for this. :tongue_smilie: Yes, the "gunk" is incompletely polymerized oil, but the human body does not produce the requisite temperatures required for this type of polymerization. Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6s and so should be used in moderation, but flax oil is high in omega-3s and polymerizes more efficiently than grapeseed oil. Should we avoid flax oil as well? Animal fats? How would we season our pans without polymerization?

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I use EVOO or occasionally butter for almost all my cooking (i.e. medium or less on the stovetop), and grapeseed oil if I need a pan at medium high.

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The idea that high smoke points make an oil heathful for cooking is a falsehood. Look at (feel) a pan that has had canola or grapeseed oil heated to a high temperature. The stuff polymerizes into a hard and sticky gunk. It is very hard to scrub off. It does the same things in the body. It forms Gunk.

 

If I really need to work at a brutally high heat (which is rare), I use peanut oil. Otherwise I use the healthiest fat available, which is extra-virgin olive oil.

 

Bill

 

 

Oh bosh, find me a source other than Mercola for this. :tongue_smilie: Yes, the "gunk" is incompletely polymerized oil, and the human body does not produce the requisite temperatures required for this type of polymerization. Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6s and so should be used in moderation, but flax oil is high in omega-3s and polymerizes more efficiently than grapeseed oil. Should be avoid flax oil as well? Animal fats? How would we season our pans without polymerization?

 

 

Ooooo! I am making popcorn for this one. And I will be using liberal amounts of butter, but no olive oil. LOL

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Ooooo! I am making popcorn for this one. And I will be using liberal amounts of butter, but no olive oil. LOL

 

It's not much of a fight since it's likely we agree of the essentials of omega-3 and omega-6 balance... It is his specific example I take exception to. :)

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Any oil or fat heated at high levels is, supposedly, dangerous and deadly. But I use olive oil to roast vegetables because they're inedible to me without it. I figure the antioxidant effect of the greens and veggies will counteract whatever free radical effect the oil has. But I do avoid red meats and especially grilled red meats because I'm concerned about the carcinogens released by high heat. And I avoid deep fried foods (vegan or otherwise) for this same reason.

 

I also eat a lot of raw greens in my diet, depending on what I can get cheap. I aim for 1 lb a day (about one head of lettuce or 1 1/2 bunches of broccoli).

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Unless I am cooking an Asian dish or something sweet, I use olive oil for everything. We get it in the big tins from the Italian store and put it into three of those dark glass bottles for easy use. Canola and/or butter are my other choices.

 

 

Did someone mention Mercola? He is an idiot.

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Oh, heavens.

 

I live in Italy. I have about 6 bottles of olive oil in my kitchen right now, each with a specific cooking purpose. I'd rather cook with that, knowing it's an oil that has been used for centuries in one of the healthiest parts of the world, and know exactly where my oil comes from (right down to the tree for the one bottle), than anything else. Oy. Every food decision is a controversy, isn't it?

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It's not much of a fight since it's likely we agree of the essentials of omega-3 and omega-6 balance... It is his specific example I take exception to. :)

 

 

I hope you took this in the tongue-in-cheek way I meant it. After all, you mentioned Mercola. LOL. All you need now is to find a way to bring This Country of Ours into the discussion... (If I had smilies the ROFL guy would be here...)

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I hope you took this in the tongue-in-cheek way I meant it. After all, you mentioned Mercola. LOL. All you need now is to find a way to bring This Country of Ours into the discussion... (If I had smilies the ROFL guy would be here...)

 

 

Absolutely. :D

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I use a ton of extra virgin olive oil (always organic). I can't cook without oil. I use coconut oil sometimes but it doesn't have the right flavor me for all things. I use peanut oil for some things, sesame oil for asian dishes.

 

I think, sadly, something negative can be said about every food we consume. I recently watched Forks Over Knives, and it was talking about the dangers of any animal product (meat, dairy, eggs). There are going to be other arguments that say meat, dairy, and eggs are important parts of the diet. I recently went vegetarian (for the second time) and will not be going vegan, though I am trying to eat less dairy than I was, including butter.

 

I also cut out coffee, and after five days of no caffeine, I feel better than I have in years. I didn't realize how bad the coffee/caffeine was making me feel until it was gone. I have a lot more energy now, and don't feel jittery or weird anymore.

 

It seems like no matter how "clean" we eat (we buy 99% of our food organic), something is going to be wrong with the way we eat. It's frustrating but we are doing the best we can.

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I was wondering what you would use to marinate chicken breasts or similar that's appropriate but more heat stable than olive?

 

If you heat an oil past its smoke point and you have even the least sense of smell, you'll know. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it. :)

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Oh bosh, find me a source other than Mercola for this. :tongue_smilie:

 

If Mercola agrees, I may need to re-think ;)

 

All one needs do is look at the gunky film on pans when you use high heat with grapeseed or canola.

 

Yes, the "gunk" is incompletely polymerized oil, but the human body does not produce the requisite temperatures required for this type of polymerization.

 

Uh, duh. The polymerization happens when you cook (and below the smoke point). Then the "gunk" is injested.

 

 

Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6s and so should be used in moderation, but flax oil is high in omega-3s and polymerizes more efficiently than grapeseed oil. Should we avoid flax oil as well? Animal fats? How would we season our pans without polymerization?

 

We should avoid high heat cooking with flax oil. Flax oil is brilliant for seasoning cast iron because it polymerizes so well. And l smell a bit of linseed oil (industrial flaxseed oil) at the moment as as it polymerizes it makes for the best finish for hickory lacrosse sticks. But flaxseed oil should be consumed raw.

 

Bill

 

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I was wondering what you would use to marinate chicken breasts or similar that's appropriate but more heat stable than olive?

 

Olive oil is the best. High smoke point does not mean more stable. The high smoke point oils are not heathful to begin with (unlike olive oil) and are highly unstable well below their smoke point.

 

Bill

 

 

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I cook with Extra Light Olive Oil--it's processed such that it can be used for high heat cooking, and it doesn't have an olivey taste so I use it in cakes, for frying, roasting, etc.

 

My children have multiple food intolerances, and other veg oils are a no-go. Extra Light Olive Oil is the oil I've found least susceptible to oxidation. Most people have heard of taking antioxidants like vit C for health, but reducing intake of oxidized foods is the other side of the equation. Also I second the pp who said she'd rather use oils that have been used for millennia--interestingly, my girls tolerate butter and olive oil, and that's pretty much it. A little organic sunflower/safflower but not in large quantities.

 

Canola, in all forms including organic, gives them symptoms. I learned from one of their doctors that it's highly susceptible to oxidation.

 

Other non-organic veg oils are extracted with truly nasty solvents. When I open a bottle of conventional Crisco oil it smells like rocket fuel to me. Why is that? Extra Light Olive Oil smells like...oil.

 

We use Filippo Berio, but I'm sure there are other good brands.

 

Amy

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If Mercola agrees, I may need to re-think ;)

 

 

:tongue_smilie: Check out his site then.

 

All one needs do is look at the gunky film on pans when you use high heat with grapeseed or canola.

 

Uh, duh. The polymerization happens when you cook (and below the smoke point). Then the "gunk" is injested.

 

Ah, but we're talking huge molecules that cannot be absorbed unless they're broken down (like starch to glucose); otherwise they pass right through. The only studies I'm aware of have looked at oils heated repeatedly in deep-fat fryers and reported health effects are correlational only (and who knows what else is in the fat?). There are plenty of warnings on sites extolling the benefits of coconut oil, and on Mercola, but I see no linked studies anywhere. Are you aware of any studies that might reflect one-off uses of the oil, like we're talking about in this thread?

 

We should avoid high heat cooking with flax oil. Flax oil is brilliant for seasoning cast iron because it polymerizes so well. And l smell a bit of linseed oil (industrial flaxseed oil) at the moment as as it polymerizes it makes for the best finish for hickory lacrosse sticks. But flaxseed oil should be consumed raw.

 

Agreed. :)

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:tongue_smilie: Check out his site then.

 

 

 

Ah, but we're talking huge molecules that cannot be absorbed unless they're broken down (like starch to glucose); otherwise they pass right through. The only studies I'm aware of have looked at oils heated repeatedly in deep-fat fryers and reported health effects are correlational only (and who knows what else is in the fat?). There are plenty of warnings on sites extolling the benefits of coconut oil, and on Mercola, but I see no linked studies anywhere. Are you aware of any studies that might reflect one-off uses of the oil, like we're talking about in this thread?

 

Maybe they pass through, maybe they stock to the walls of our arteries.

 

All it took was washing (scouring is more like it) cookware that ordinarily wipes out cleanly and effortlessly when I use olive oil, butter, or ghee after short-lived experimentations with grapeseed and canola for me to decide with my own brain that I do not want that crap in my body.

 

I'm going with my inner-intelligence that tells me that polymerized gunk is not healthful.

 

Bill

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The thing with oil is not just the smoke point, it's their molecular structure.

 

Polyunsaturated oils (like corn) are the most unstable. Monounsaturated (like olive) are not quite so unstable. Saturated (like coconut or lard) are the most stable.

 

When you heat oils you start breaking up these bonds and changing them. Which is why polyunsaturates like linseed can be used for certain functions. These changed structures may be unhealthy.

 

And, if I understand culinary history correctly, the Greeks and Italians hardly ever used olive oil for cooking before modern times. They would just use lard for that. Real lard, not the trans-fat icky stuff that hispanic grocers sell by the gallon. Olive oil was for dipping your bread or cleaning your hair.

 

I usually just use olive oil to make salad dressing. Occasionally I will use it for something in the oven, roasting vegetable and the like, but I try to keep an eye on the temperature. I've found that roasting with butter is sometimes more tasty.

 

For oiling pans I use bacon grease or coconut oil, and sometimes some fat I skim off my stocks, depending on the dish. After using these for a while I can't imagine going back to olive oil, it's so finicky in comparison.

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Everything in moderation. Alternate between coconut oil and olive oil. I have not heard anything bad about olive oil other than one should buy the one harvested and bottled in CA because oils coming from other countries or regions don't have such strict guidelines as CA and vegetable oils are mixed in with the olive oil to save money.

 

We have been cooking with both coconut oil and olive oil (longer with olive oil) and seem to have escaped unscathed from this culinary experience.

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Maybe they pass through, maybe they stock to the walls of our arteries.

 

All it took was washing (scouring is more like it) cookware that ordinarily wipes out cleanly and effortlessly when I use olive oil, butter, or ghee after short-lived experimentations with grapeseed and canola for me to decide with my own brain that I do not want that crap in my body.

 

I'm going with my inner-intelligence that tells me that polymerized gunk is not healthful.

 

 

That's an entirely understandable precaution to take (and I take many like it), but it's based on supposition, not science. :)

 

(Thank you for not using the word "quantum." :p)

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Mercola also has a video where he interviews a researcher on oxidation in oils, and that scientist recommends Extra Light Olive Oil as least susceptible to oxidation. I saw it after we observed that our girls did best with it. Bill, I appreciate your empirical (and intuitive) data! :thumbup:

 

Amy

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The only negative thing I've ever heard about olive oil is there is a high level of "counterfeit" olive oils on the supermarket shelves. Some being that they don't meet the qualifications to be labeled "Extra Virgin" all the way to being a totally different oil colored and flavored to appear as olive oil.

 

Here's one blog post that I've read.

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I cook with extra light olive oil. I use EVOO for salad dressing or toss pasta in it--something where it won't actually cook, KWIM?

 

That it smokes when it is heated to a high temperature only means that it smokes when it's heated to a high temperature. I don't believe it becomes carcinogenic. That's just crazy talk.

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That it smokes when it is heated to a high temperature only means that it smokes when it's heated to a high temperature. I don't believe it becomes carcinogenic. That's just crazy talk.

 

 

Not entirely crazy. PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are mutagenic and classified as "reasonably anticipated" to be human carcinogens, and PAHs are formed by heating oils past their smoke point. (They are also one of the two main chemicals you hear about with respect to carcinogens and high temperature barbecuing.) Research is ongoing. :)

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Maybe they pass through, maybe they stock to the walls of our arteries.

 

All it took was washing (scouring is more like it) cookware that ordinarily wipes out cleanly and effortlessly when I use olive oil, butter, or ghee after short-lived experimentations with grapeseed and canola for me to decide with my own brain that I do not want that crap in my body.

 

I'm going with my inner-intelligence that tells me that polymerized gunk is not healthful.

 

Bill

 

 

I stay away from Canola like the plague, for the exact same reasons. Not to mention the GMOs.

 

I tell that margarine/heart disease/Nana story all the time, and in this it applies, too. They told her it was safe, it was great for her heart disease...

 

 

 

 

I use EVOO, OO, and coconut oil. And bacon fat. :D I want to use lard, too, but so far it scares me. For the non dairy allergic, I use butter, too. (yes, I'm even allergic to ghee)

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I stay away from Canola like the plague, for the exact same reasons. Not to mention the GMOs.

 

I tell that margarine/heart disease/Nana story all the time, and in this it applies, too. They told her it was safe, it was great for her heart disease...

 

 

 

 

I use EVOO, OO, and coconut oil. And bacon fat. :D I want to use lard, too, but so far it scares me. For the non dairy allergic, I use butter, too. (yes, I'm even allergic to ghee)

 

When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents (who were pretty health conscious) like many parents bought into the idea that margerine was heathful and butter was terrible. But I would not eat it. I could tell it was crap. I can recall no other food item that we had in our home that I "refused," but oleo-margerine was not happening. No way.

 

Despite their concerns for my health my parents eventually allowed me my own butter supply (most of which I froze and doled out sparingly). Later I felt vindicated.

 

Sometimes science is slow to prove the obvious.

 

Bill

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When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents (who were pretty health conscious) like many parents bought into the idea that margerine was heathful and butter was terrible. But I would not eat it. I could tell it was crap. I can recall no other food item that we had in our home that I "refused," but oleo-margerine was not happening. No way.

 

Despite their concerns for my health my parents eventually allowed me my own butter supply (most of which I froze and doled out sparingly). Later I felt vindicated.

 

Sometimes science is slow to prove the obvious.

 

Or perhaps you don't have second sight when it comes to nutrition and margarine merely feels gross on the tongue and tastes worse? I never liked margarine either... because it was gross.

 

Bill, you should know better than to speak in absolutes when you're only working with a "gut feeling" without at least qualifying your comments. It is that I took exception to. We all do the best we can with the information we've got, call it informed choice or educated guess, that's up to you; but you seem hung up on the "gunk" aspect, even when reminded that we cannot absorb polymers without their being broken down in the digestive tract?

 

This is what you said:

 

The stuff polymerizes into a hard and sticky gunk. It is very hard to scrub off. It does the same things in the body. It forms Gunk.

 

And it is wrong. Now, there may very well be other compounds produced during gunkification or mechanisms that are indeed problematic. Who knows? Neither of us. It's just speculation at this point. I'd be prepared to bet money that oxidation is a bigger concern than polymerization though, and even then, primarily in oils that are heated repeatedly, as in restaurants.

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Or perhaps you don't have second sight when it comes to nutrition and margarine merely feels gross on the tongue and tastes worse? I never liked margarine either... because it was gross.

 

Bill, you should know better than to speak in absolutes when you're only working with a "gut feeling" without at least qualifying your comments. It is that I took exception to. We all do the best we can with the information we've got, call it informed choice or educated guess, that's up to you; but you seem hung up on the "gunk" aspect, even when reminded that we cannot absorb polymers without their being broken down in the digestive tract?

 

This is what you said:

 

 

 

And it is wrong. Now, there may very well be other compounds produced during gunkification or mechanisms that are indeed problematic. Who knows? Neither of us. It's just speculation at this point. I'd be prepared to bet money that oxidation is a bigger concern than polymerization though, and even then, primarily in oils that are heated repeatedly, as in restaurants.

 

Polyunsaturated oils are unstable. Most are rancid. Heating them (and expecially heating them repeatedly) causes oxidation and the creation of free-radicals. Heating also causes many polyunsaturated oils to polymerize.

 

I'm sorry if you are offended by my calling the offending stuff "gunk." I do not have a degree in bio-chemistry. But I am not an idiot, and I would not willing consume these oils as I'm convinced they are unhealthful. The evidence that oils polymerize is as easy to see as using some to cook with over high heat. I have a lifetime of cooking with olive oil and butter and knowing they do not form a polymer on pans the way grapeseed oil and canola do.

 

I do not believe that "body heat" causes oils to polymerize, it is the high heat cooking that does that. It forms "gunk." It is rancid, oxidized, unstable, and free radical laiden. I do not wish to eat it.

 

If scientific studies prove "gunk" to be harmless to human health I will eat my hat (and issue apologies to those I may have mislead). Until then I use the good sense that evolution provided me :D

 

Bill

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Yeah I stopped listening. I just go for taste. If whatever I'm going to eat is going to kill me anyways I might as well enjoy eating it.

 

 

 

You know my dad says this to me about eating gluten. If I make an offhand comment about missing eating something like say a Thin Mint he'll say, "Just eat them. What's a little stomach ache? Don't you know everything is going to kill you anyway?" Great. Thanks for the understanding of what it's like to have celiac. :glare:

 

Wendy, I know this is not what you meant. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Flax oil is brilliant for seasoning cast iron because it polymerizes so well.

 

 

I have a cast iron pan and I'm having a dickens of a time seasoning it right. Should I use flax oil?

 

 

Ghee (butter with the milk-solids, which are prone to burning, filtered out) makes a great oil for cooking popcorn.

 

Bill

 

 

We love using coconut oil as it gives a lovely flavor to the popcorn. I'll have to try ghee.

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