This morning, for the first time in a very long time indeed, I actually wrote out a shopping list. Somewhere near the top of that list was oil, because I had totally run out.
I'd also run out of a few other basics in my store cupboard, such as stock cubes and pasta. I buy 95% of my food from the two independent grocers at the bottom of my street. This is because they are better quality and much cheaper than the local supermarket. But supermarkets do beat them on other things, which is why I made our local one my first port of call.
I was passing the oil shelf which had a still in front of it advertising a new kind of cooking oil claiming to be "45% healthier than olive oil!" The sales assistant was also keen to tell me how wonderful this oil was and if I waited for her to finish cooking her samples I could try it myself. Sadly, she was frying up bits of dead bird, so like a news of the world reporter in a brothel, I made my excuses and left.
Before I did, I had a look at the label and this so called 'healthy' oil was a blend of vegetable, rapeseed, sunflower and linseed oil in it. Hang on, don't they use linseed oil for cricket bats?
"So how do they work out this is healthier than olive oil then?" I asked. She started to go into her sales pitch but I cut across her to point out that olive oil has no cholesterol in it - which is why I have cooked with nothing else for about the last 25 years. Apparently though, olive oil has saturated fat in it, but her little concoction made up of 'Vegetable Oils (Sunflower Seed Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Linseed Oil),Water ,Salt (0.9%) ,Emulsifiers (Soy Bean Lecithin, Polysorbate 60) ,Soy Protein ,Stabilisers (Guar and Xanthan Gums) ,Colour (Beta-Carotene) ,Preservative (Potassium Sorbate) ,Citric Acid ,Flavourings ,Vitamins (A, D)' was free some such things.
The health benefits of olive oil and a mediterranean diet are so well known that I really don't need to repeat them here. For most things, I use Pomace Oil because its cheaper and is more neutral tasting. The process of producing pomace oil can involve solvents, but its got exactly the same oil in it and has still got to be much more 'healthy' than an over hyped chemical set.
No doubt people will fall for the trick, but I won't, not least of all because the stuff costs TWO QUID for half a litre. Having finished at the supermarket I went back to the independent grocer and bought a two litre bottle of Pomace oil (pictured right) - and look how much I paid for it.