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Vegetable oil


Monica Bhide
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Monica, has anyone died yet from your cooking? . . . I thought not. Carry on with whatever you've been doing, and let those who worry, worry. :biggrin:

But, Fat Guy, celery is just LOADED with sodium, no? :hmmm:

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Yesterday at a big get together, one of the events was a big fish fry. Big pan, big propane burner, several cans of Crisco... You get the picture. The thermometer was on the fritz so the oil got too hot and was smoking. I looked on the Crisco can to see if they had the soke temperature on the label and found that they didn't! I had to dig into my faulty memory to come up with a smoke temerature to make a guess at where we were. Shouldn't labels include that info? I had never thought about it before.

P.S... We cooled the oil down, fried the fish, no one died. If we worried about everything supposed to be carcinogenic, we would starve to death. Have you ever read Steingarten's take on raw veggies? Vegetarians and raw food nuts should be littering the sidewalks. BBQ and grilled meat???!!! The bodies are piling up!!!

Give me a break.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Creates lots of carcinogens.

Then again, so does barbequing or smoking meat. Or effectively cooking anything to the point of creating a char crust or grill marks.

Hell, mastubating causes cancer. Breathing while you're asleep causes cancer. If you closed yourself off in a bubble for the rest of your life, drinking only spring water from artisan wells and scarfing down garden burgers made by an anal retentive rabbi there would still be something lingering around your lurch that caused this dispicable virus to find its way into your miserable life. So I say fuck it, eat smoke.

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After the SO asked about the grilling/bbq'ing & carcinogens, I did a bit of searching & e-mailed her this summary.

I'm no expert on this, so does anyone have any feedback on the accuracy of my summary?

Summary

1. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed when fat drips from food onto hot coals or lava rocks. The smoke that forms rises up to the food and deposits PAHs on the surface of it.

Best way to avoid PAHs: Do not allow fat to drip directly on hot coals or hot heating elements. I.e., cook with medium heat and/or use some form of "indirect" method--do not cook directly over coals and/or place a drip pan under the meat.

2. Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) are created within muscle meats during cooking--particularly when cooked at high temperatures as with frying, broiling and barbecuing (sic--grilling is high temp; bbq is low temp). However, according to the July 1996 issue of Environmental Nutrition, the risk of getting cancer from HAAs is very low-- one in 10,000 over a lifetime.

Best way to avoid HAAs: Cook meat at lower temperatures--less than 400 degrees F and, more importantly, do not eat a lot of well-done meat.

3. As far as cancer risk from charcoal versus gas grilling and from charcoal briquettes versus lump charcoal, there is no real evidence concerning cancer risk from either charcoal or briquettes.

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I think the directive to heat the oil until smoking simply gives the cook a clear signal that the oil is ready -- or close enough, anyway. This is similar to the directive to boil water when making coffee. 212 F is not really the best temperature for brewing, but boiling provides a baseline that is close enough to get a satisfactory result -- an unmistakable signal that conditions are right, without having to resort to a thermometer. I think an experienced cook would able able to recognize the signs of imminent smoking (such as the shimmering effect heated oil exhibits), and avoid whatever risks there might be altogether.

This has been on my mind since picking up Pomiane's books folowing maggiethecat's article. He always, even when deep frying, tells the reader to heat the oil until smoking. Rarely will a recent recipe suggest this. Partly this must be because of the different smoke point of various fats, but also because oil heated to the smoke point breaks down much more quickly than oil that has not. This is especially true of the most common frying oils -- peanut, safflower, cottonseed, etc., because they are less stable, chemically speaking, than saturated fats like butter or shortening.

MatthewB's summary is pretty much how I understand the situation, but only (2) is really applicable to what we're talking about here. Even then, 400 degrees is pretty hot -- close to or beyond the smoke point of many oils -- and I don't think eGulleters need be cautioned about the dangers of overcooking meat. The consequences are actually worse than cancer; you might waste a nice hunk of meat, which is a Sin.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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