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oils and fats

However, let’s go to the point of the subject.

As I already told you, I am not a doctor, but a cook, as cooks and not doctors, are all those who insist that we should use olive oil in all of our cooking preparations. And they insist on that, using a purely medical criterion, of which they have little to no knowledge at all.

One thing, however, which I think we all agree on, is that our culinary habits are NOT always formed by healthy matters, in fact most of the times this parameter is not even taken under consideration. If what we eat was determined ONLY by medical criteria, we would not even touch fried foods, pastries, shellfish or cold cuts, but we would pass all of our lives eating “cabbage and boiled beans”.

And these are the words of a cook, who gives special care to the part of hygiene, who “screams” not to buy ready-made products, who suggests making our own ketchup, mustard, bacon and sausages and who considers the organic diet very very important.

It is, therefore, obvious that what we eat is determined not only by our “musts”, but also by our desires, otherwise food would be just a natural need, such as urination and defecation and not a pleasure, which contributes to well-being and happiness.

Nevertheless, I could hypothetically accept the views of those who support the universal use of olive oil, if:

  • They mentioned, at least, the problematic behavior of the olive oil, when we approach its burning point.
  • They were scientists, doctors or food chemists and not cooks, sometimes even with no theoretical education.
  • Their books were inspired by a total concept of healthy diet and not only with the sole exception of the olive oil.
  • Apart from the “unhealthy seed oil”, they referred to EXTREMELY unhealthy issues as the ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS
  • Instead of just changing the oil they use, they suggested reducing cooking with fats at high temperatures.

So, I firmly believe that cooking is a complex process, which must be inspired by the principle of healthiness AND ALSO by the principle of enjoyment and pleasure.

As we have already said, one of the characteristics of (vegetable and animal) fats, is that they have a strong aroma, which they transfer to the materials, which they are combined with. It is known that, due to this property of fats, the most delicious French fries are made with duck fat, that a piece of lamb fat makes the lean ground beef much more interesting and finally that olive oil turns salads and vegetables better and raises – when added raw – pastas with simple tomato sauces.

But must fat or oil make its taste presence felt always and everywhere?

Do not forget that oils are also means of lubrication in addition to food flavoring. So, what happens when we want to lubricate a material without covering its light or delicate original taste?

(excerpt from the lemma Fats and oils of the DG book)


Published in Techniques