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Old 01-28-2017, 01:23 PM   #1
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Semi-technical Q regarding choice of fat to cook in

Hello there; i'm a relative newbie to cooking and have been reading various cook books on French & Italian cooking. I can't seem to find alternative reasons for sometimes gently cooking chicken breasts (for example) in butter, sometimes in olive oil, and sometimes in (far less healthy) vegetable oil? Are there some 'classic' reasons and situations why you might use one over the other - ignoring the health reasons for the time being! (which would suggest cooking in expeller-pressed coconut oil i guess)
Many thanks indeed.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:40 PM   #2
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Because the human body has evolve to process all of oil and animal fats where is vegetable oil is something that is left over from the 1950s I don't trust it personally
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:56 PM   #3
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Fully agreed on vegetable oil being rubbish...my question was more: why might one use butter over olive oil, or indeed olive oil over butter, in certain circumstances. eg. caramelizing onions: butter or olive oil? gently browning a chicken breast: butter or olive oil...? etc.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:58 PM   #4
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I guess the temperature there trying to seer at has a lot to do with it ,some people like brown butter some don't
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Old 01-28-2017, 04:17 PM   #5
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Any oil made from vegetable matter is vegetable oil.

Olive, corn, coconut are all types of vegetable oil.
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Old 01-28-2017, 04:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_coburg View Post
Fully agreed on vegetable oil being rubbish...my question was more: why might one use butter over olive oil, or indeed olive oil over butter, in certain circumstances. eg. caramelizing onions: butter or olive oil? gently browning a chicken breast: butter or olive oil...? etc.
Vegetable oil is not a big deal; as jennyema noted, olive and coconut oils are both types of vegetable oil.

In general, the type of oil used for cooking is related to what was available to people in different parts of the world throughout history. Peanut oil is traditional in Asia, corn oil in the Americas, olive oil in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries and butter in northern climates where olives don't grow; even whale oil in some northern traditional societies.

These days, it comes down to personal preference, taste and cost.
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:09 PM   #7
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If you are concerned about health you would choose vegetable oils rather than solid fats or tropical oils. These articles shed some light on the topic:

Healthy Cooking Oils

Healthy Cooking Oils Buyer's Guide
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:17 PM   #8
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Vegetable oil is not a big deal; as jennyema noted, olive and coconut oils are both types of vegetable oil.

In general, the type of oil used for cooking is related to what was available to people in different parts of the world throughout history. Peanut oil is traditional in Asia, corn oil in the Americas, olive oil in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries and butter in northern climates where olives don't grow; even whale oil in some northern traditional societies.

These days, it comes down to personal preference, taste and cost.
And then there's lard!

For the most part, the less processing and modifying they do to it, the better it is for eating in moderation. I use a couple of different olive oils, the light, well filtered type for general cooking where I might have once used vegetable oil, and EVOO at lower temps when I want the olive oil flavor to come through.

I also have plain old vegetable oil in the pantry for my rare deep frying.

I use butter when I want that more delicate flavor - sautéing mushrooms, fried eggs, etc. I also keep bacon fat around because it makes almost anything fried taste yummier.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:16 PM   #9
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If you are concerned about health you would choose vegetable oils rather than solid fats or tropical oils. These articles shed some light on the topic:

Healthy Cooking Oils

Healthy Cooking Oils Buyer's Guide
Sorry Tenspeed, but I call complete baloney on this.

I don't have a problem with certain vegetable oils, but keep in mind humans have been consuming animal fats for millennia - far longer than any vegetable oils. It's only in the last 50-60 years that the medical community has advanced the notion that it somehow isn't healthy, and they keep regurgitating the same old studies. But there's recent research that's beginning to show otherwise, and I think you're going to see more and more evidence in coming years.

About two and a half years ago I jumped ship on the whole low fat craze, and since then have never been healthier, including losing almost 100 lbs of body weight. My cholesterol numbers have also improved vastly. About 40% of my daily fat intake comes from so-called unhealthy saturated fats, and some days even more. So at this point, I'll stick with what I've found through personal experience, rather than something that "studies" from many years ago have reported.

And one other thing. Technically, coconut oil is a "solid" fruit (not vegetable) oil containing a good percentage of saturated fat.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:21 PM   #10
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And then there's lard!
Ha ha ha! You're hilarious. Not.
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:22 PM   #11
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I'm not sure, but I think the original question was about why one should use certain oils for specific purposes.

It has to do with both flavor and smoking point.

Here's a good article on it: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/cooking-fats-101-whats-a-smoke-point-and-why-does-it-matter.html

I'm surprised non one mentioned grapeseed oil, my higher temp oil of choice when I don't want the flavor of light olive or peanut.
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:02 AM   #12
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Here's a link to smoke points and health info >>> https://jonbarron.org/diet-and-nutri...t-smoke-points

Here's a screen shot of some.

Attachment 26085


Avocado oil has the highest smoke point.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:31 AM   #13
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Sorry Tenspeed, but I call complete baloney on this.

I don't have a problem with certain vegetable oils, but keep in mind humans have been consuming animal fats for millennia - far longer than any vegetable oils. It's only in the last 50-60 years that the medical community has advanced the notion that it somehow isn't healthy, and they keep regurgitating the same old studies. But there's recent research that's beginning to show otherwise, and I think you're going to see more and more evidence in coming years.

About two and a half years ago I jumped ship on the whole low fat craze, and since then have never been healthier, including losing almost 100 lbs of body weight. My cholesterol numbers have also improved vastly. About 40% of my daily fat intake comes from so-called unhealthy saturated fats, and some days even more. So at this point, I'll stick with what I've found through personal experience, rather than something that "studies" from many years ago have reported.

And one other thing. Technically, coconut oil is a "solid" fruit (not vegetable) oil containing a good percentage of saturated fat.
Happy to hear your health has improved. I don't want to start one of those "discussions" that gets out of hand, but can you provide any references debunking what the AHA has been saying?

I realize that people have been eating what is now considered an unhealthy diet for millennia, but lifespan was much shorter and people died of other things before their arteries clogged up from their diet. Obesity wasn't the issue that it currently is, and people were much more physically active.

Here's another interesting article:

Symptoms and causes - High cholesterol - Mayo Clinic
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:09 PM   #14
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I use bacon fat , butter and lard a lot. I have the blood pressure and cholesterol of a 25 year old athlete (I'm 43). You just have to move your body every now and again..
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:10 PM   #15
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Look at pictures of your sugar butter and animal fat eating ancestors.
Notice anything? They're thin.
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Happy to hear your health has improved. I don't want to start one of those "discussions" that gets out of hand, but can you provide any references debunking what the AHA has been saying?
I'll throw a couple of videos out here. It's easier to take in information while watching, rather than reading, in my opinion.

This guy, Dr. Bowden, is great...


One more. Peter Attia is a pure scientist. His lectures contain more detail than you probably want to know, but he's extremely knowledgeable, and 100% lives what he preaches.


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Look at pictures of your sugar butter and animal fat eating ancestors.
Notice anything? They're thin.
Butter and animal fat, yes. But people back then didn't eat near as much sugar and carbs as we do now.
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:16 PM   #17
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Refined carbs are the actual killers. When combined with a fatty diet, it's just about the worst thing you can do to yourself. Light to moderate fat intake with minimal sugars and starches is not unhealthy.

According to my doctor, the most damaging thing in the diets of most overweight people is the refined carb intake, and that includes rice, most breads or anything made with refined flour, and sugars of all kinds.
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:50 PM   #18
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For a historical perspective, the book "Cuisine and Empire" is invaluable: http://www.rachellaudan.com/cuisine-and-empire

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"Cuisine and Empire" offers a global history of food and the way human beings have cooked it. Beginning with “Mastering Grain Cookery, 20,000-300 B.C.E.” (Chapter 1) and ending with “Modern Cuisines: The Globalization of Middling Cuisines- 1920-2000” (Chapter 8), Laudan aims for breadth of chronology and depth of analysis.

"The “middling cuisines” of the 20th century began to develop in the years after 1650, with the Dutch and the British pioneering the idea of government by consent of the governed. As more and more nations located political power in the will of the people, Laudan points out that “it became increasingly difficult to deny to all citizens the right to eat the same kind of food.” Eaters of middling cuisines could enjoy taste-enhancing sauces and sweets, plus more fats, sugar and processed foods than eaters of “traditional humble cuisines...”

"After listing the culinary advantages of grains, she points out a big disadvantage: Grains must be ground if they are to be turned into bread. Her farmer father experimented with turning some of his wheat into flour by hand, first with mortar and pestle, then with a mincer and then with a hammer. All of these tools failed. Despite having sacks full of wheat in their barns, Laudan says, her family might have starved without commercial millers.

"For even more personal experience, Laudan received a grinding lesson from a friend in Mexico, learning firsthand about the hard labor still practiced by women in remote Mexican villages: They must grind five hours every day to prepare maize to feed a family of five or six...

"The graceful writing of the personal observations in "Cuisine and Empire" may cause readers to hope that Rachel Laudan will write a shorter, less formal book summarizing the history that supports her arguments, especially her argument that everyone in the world should be able to enjoy a middling cuisine. She concludes the book by describing Mexican mothers and grandmothers shopping in her Mexico City grocery store. She exults in the huge variety of food available to them — foods for those with time to cook, for those who don’t want to cook, in all price ranges and from all parts of the world. Laudan notes that, not too long ago, many of these women would have been grinding for hours every day. Now, industrialized food processing has brought them what Laudan wishes for everyone — “the choice, the responsibility, the dignity, and the pleasure of a middling cuisine.”
The real problem is that most Americans these days eat many more calories than they need and are much more sedentary than most people used to be. The easy availability of sugary foods certainly contributes to that; it used to be affordable only for special occasions.

Having to plant, grow, harvest, grind and bake all those grains, plus making so many other things they needed, took a lot out of a person.
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Old 02-01-2017, 03:46 AM   #19
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Getting back to the actual question asked in original post, I keep a variety of cooking fats, from olive oil (cheap and EVOO), seed oils, butter and ghee (clarified butter), bacon fat and more on hand.

I use them for different dishes. I like to use butter for eggs. I sometimes like to sauté vegies in bacon fat, and other times in olive oil. I use EVOO for finishing foods like salads or pasta. I use peanut oil for deep frying.

If I'm going to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, I cook the eggs in butter. It just tastes so good. I also like to sous vide fish, and use butter in a hot pan to quickly brown the outside of the fish right before serving.

I deep fry with peanut oil because it works better than other fats I have tried.

Seed oils are good for stir frying, because they can handle the high heat.

As for olive oils, if I'm just using the oil to keep something from sticking to the pan while I cook it, I use a cheaper OO, or and olive/canola oil blend (works very well). If my olive oil is going to be an integral part of a sauce, or I'm dressing a caprese salad, I break out the good EVOO. I'm not going to waste any 20-dollar EVOO to sauté a chicken breast that I'm going to cover with tomato sauce.

As for health, if you are cooking at home, from scratch, you are already WAY better off than most Americans from a healthy eating point of view. Processed foods are the real killers.

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