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sylvan Jan 6, 2014 07:35 PM

Why do all the cooks on TV cooking programs use olive oil for sauteing?
They pour it exclusively when starting a meal in a stove top pan?

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  1. n
    ncghettogourmet RE: sylvan Jan 6, 2014 09:42 PM

    To sauté food you need a fat. Olive oil happens to be a healthier choice than others at the temperature needed for sautéing. At higher temperatures (deep frying for example) the cost of that much olive oil plus the loss of flavor/possible health risks of bringing the oil temp past 400 (deg F) is not worth it. A higher smoke point oil should be used then, and for the quantity needed to deep fry, a cheaper oil as well.

    You could use butter in most places where EVOO is used, but your waist and arteries would feel the toll after a while. It is also not very vegetarian/vegan friendly. You could also use corn oil, or grapeseed oil if those are more affordable. Pay attention to what the end product is though. For example, if I am sautéing onions and garlic as the base for a tomato sauce (like for pasta) that will be simmered for hours, the type of oil I use is negligible because by the end you won't taste it. If I am sautéing garlic and shrimp for 3 minutes to be served over pasta or a crostini, I will taste the oil and using a good EVOO that has a taste is very important. A bland corn oil would not be positive. In another scenario, for things like vinaigrettes, I prefer a neutral oil like corn oil because the olive oil can have too much of its own flavor and that can fight with the flavor profile of what I'm making.

    I left margarine out on purpose. The water content in margarine will often mess up a sauté, it is far better to use a vegetable oil to sauté than a hydrogenated fat like substance made from vegetable oil.

    Another reason is that many TV cooks are preparing Western European based foods, which have flavor profiles that are accented by olive oils - Spanish, French, Italian and Greek influenced foods. I would be hard pressed to use olive oils to prepare Japanese, Chinese or Indian food.

    12 Replies
    1. re: ncghettogourmet
      smtucker RE: ncghettogourmet Jan 7, 2014 05:18 AM

      A few clarifications to your post. Olive oil actually has a few more calories per tablespoon than butter, so this isn't really about waistlines. Butter is not a problem for vegetarians, but vegans don't include it in their diets.

      1. re: smtucker
        carolinadawg RE: smtucker Jan 7, 2014 06:46 AM

        And, as an additional clarification to the OP, margarine is terrible for your arteries, butter isn't.

        1. re: carolinadawg
          calumin RE: carolinadawg Feb 4, 2014 07:47 PM

          That's a controversial statement.

          The link between saturated fat and atherosclerosis isn't completely clear, but most people would say that butter isn't good for your arteries.

          1. re: calumin
            fldhkybnva RE: calumin Feb 5, 2014 02:41 AM

            Most people should read some articles :)

            1. re: fldhkybnva
              calumin RE: fldhkybnva Feb 5, 2014 07:35 AM

              Actually, most people should read articles from a wide variety of sources, including from a broad spectrum of the medical community. If they did that, they would reach the conclusion that butter consumption is not good for your arteries.

              That's not to say you shouldn't eat it, but the idea that butter consumption is not correlated to atherosclerosis is not well-supported by facts.

              1. re: calumin
                Bkeats RE: calumin Feb 5, 2014 09:08 AM

                Here's an interesting article to read.


                Its about the scientist, Fred Kummerow, who first proposed the link between transfats and heart disease.

                According to the article his conclusion is -
                "that the saturated fat in butter, cheese and meats does not contribute to the clogging of arteries — and in fact is beneficial in moderate amounts in the context of a healthy diet (lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other fresh, unprocessed foods)"

                So based on the guy who came up with the theory, butter consumption is not correlated with heart disease. It is in fact good for you.

                1. re: Bkeats
                  Chemicalkinetics RE: Bkeats Feb 14, 2014 06:32 PM

                  <in fact is beneficial in moderate amounts>

                  Everything in moderation is not bad, but the keyword is moderation. Some people believe in eating 2 pound of meat everyday is moderation. Other eat less than 2 pound of meat in a week. What is "moderation"?

                  Some people drink 4 cups of coffee a day, and some drink none in a month.

                2. re: calumin
                  fldhkybnva RE: calumin Feb 5, 2014 09:12 AM


              2. re: calumin
                Chemicalkinetics RE: calumin Feb 14, 2014 06:29 PM

                <The link between saturated fat and atherosclerosis isn't completely clear>

                There are a lot of things we know better now, but there are a lot of things which we are trying to better understanding.

                We often revise our knowledge over time and some time going back re-revise.

                Butter probably is not as bad as we once thought, but then it is not as innocent as some people think -- some people believe all fats have positive effec as long as they are naturally made (like butter and lard).

                There are also people who believe all sweeteners are good as long as they are not artificial -- which is why some people only worry about HFCS.

          2. re: ncghettogourmet
            sylvan RE: ncghettogourmet Jan 23, 2014 10:00 AM

            Thanks so much for your great response and information I can use. I'll copy and paste it to my files.

            1. re: ncghettogourmet
              Vidute RE: ncghettogourmet Jan 24, 2014 05:45 PM

              and one more clarification, clarified butter, aka ghee, is used in indian cooking and is also appropriate for higher temperature frying/sauteeing.

              1. re: ncghettogourmet
                sylvan RE: ncghettogourmet Feb 4, 2014 07:23 PM

                thanks for the great info
                I'll remember your examples of the end product

              2. iheartcooking RE: sylvan Jan 7, 2014 06:42 AM

                I'm not sure but I can't afford to use precious olive oil every time I brown something so I often use bacon fat or chicken fat that I reserve from cooking bacon or making stock.

                2 Replies
                1. re: iheartcooking
                  nokitchen RE: iheartcooking Jan 7, 2014 08:29 AM

                  That's actually another reason you see TV cooks using EVOO or regular olive oil. Not enough of them counsel their viewers to save their fats and very few suggest buying a tub of lard to have lying around.

                  1. re: nokitchen
                    fldhkybnva RE: nokitchen Jan 7, 2014 11:20 AM

                    so true, I now have 4 jars of fat in the fridge at all times - beef, duck, chicken, bacon

                2. i
                  Isolda RE: sylvan Jan 7, 2014 11:37 AM

                  I use EVOO for sautéing when the oil flavor really matters. When it doesn't, I use olive oil with a sordid past.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Isolda
                    gourmanda RE: Isolda Jan 7, 2014 11:41 AM


                    1. re: Isolda
                      chefj RE: Isolda Jan 7, 2014 02:04 PM

                      Trampy OO

                    2. Chemicalkinetics RE: sylvan Jan 7, 2014 11:48 AM

                      I think Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great as a finishing oil. I don't use it for sauting (high temperature) cooking though.

                      1. tim irvine RE: sylvan Jan 7, 2014 04:47 PM

                        Yes, it seems to me the TV cooks tend to use EVOO. If I were using olive, it wouldn't be extra virgin. I like olive oil in dishes with the right flavor profile, like piccata or Marsala, but for most dishes I prefer a mixture of peanut oil and unsalted butter or, for heartier dishes or that home cooking flavor, bacon fat. I'll save my EVOO for salads, finishing applications, or sneaking hunks of baguette with oil. I am guessing they do this to telegraph to people who are new to cooking, "Hey, you need some fat in there, about this much!"

                        1. Ttrockwood RE: sylvan Jan 7, 2014 08:59 PM

                          More often than not the answer is found at the end of the show when they show credits to their "sponsors"...... Like bertoli olive oil. Or cola vita, etc....
                          Not a coincidence.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Ttrockwood
                            sylvan RE: Ttrockwood Jan 23, 2014 10:10 AM

                            ha ha, so true
                            they are misleading somewhat during the show

                            1. re: sylvan
                              Ttrockwood RE: sylvan Jan 23, 2014 05:38 PM

                              I believe the P.C. term is "product placement"......

                          2. C. Hamster RE: sylvan Jan 24, 2014 06:08 AM

                            I use eevo for just about everything but stir frying. I sautée with it almost every day.

                            1. e
                              emu48 RE: sylvan Jan 24, 2014 05:04 PM

                              TV cooks make money off of paid product placement, sponsorships, etc.

                              If you want to cook with olive oil, do so, even though it's not a great oil for high-temperature frying. But cooking with extra-virgin oil is just a waste of money. The cheaper yellow olive oils taste just as good when used as cooking oil.

                              In America, you're led to believe that you should always use extra-virgin, or at least what they claim is extra-virgin, because it is the best grade. It's more flavorful than the cheaper grades. But that extra flavor is pretty delicate, and cooking it pretty well renders it the same as cheaper grades. it's a little like toothpaste: Ads on TV always show a two-inch strip of it on the brush. Real people know that much less is needed. It's about shaking more money out of consumers.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: emu48
                                debbiel RE: emu48 Jan 24, 2014 05:44 PM

                                It's actually tough to find any olive oil other than extra virgin in a lot of grocery stores around me. Frustrating.

                                1. re: emu48
                                  sylvan RE: emu48 Feb 4, 2014 07:27 PM

                                  I love your "toothpaste" metaphor, perfect

                                  1. re: emu48
                                    emu48 RE: emu48 Feb 14, 2014 05:50 PM

                                    For accuracy's sake, I shouldn't have equated lower-grade olive oil with yellow color. There are also extra-virgin oils that are yellow, usually from ripe (i.e., black) olives.

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