Canola Conundrum

Husband and I are currently in transit, heading to Brookings to see our son and family. We decided to split the 500 mile trip, and spent last night in Fargo.

We ate out last night after we arrived in town, and went to a favorite Thai restaurant. Everyone was well distanced, and we weren’t that worried about Covid. Our main worry was the type of oil they used to cook with.

We ate restaurant food for the first time in 18 months when we traveled to Denver in September. We hadn’t even ordered take out. We just cooked at home. In Denver we ate in really nice restaurants as well as at a wedding reception and at relative’s homes. The relatives mainly ordered pizza and take out foods for the group. All the foods we ate tasted good, but none of it agreed with us, and we decided the culprit was canola oil.

Canola oil is very hard to digest. It once was used as a machinery lubricant. At home, we cook with olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and an olive oil-sunflower blend imported from Spain. We stopped using canola oil a couple of years ago, and we can tell right away now when we eat food that has canola in it. We really notice the difference in fried foods and salad dressings. It seems like everyone uses canola these days. Road food will never be the same for us, I am afraid.

What is your favorite road food? What foods do to you have to be careful to avoid? What oils do you like to cook with?

46 thoughts on “Canola Conundrum”

    1. Yes, that is canola. We have huge fields of it out here. On rare occasions I have seen it right next to a flowering flax field. Just gorgeous.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The thought of that color just makes me shiver. Flax flowers are a beautiful indigo blue. I grew a few this year, but I planted them too late. The flax grew but did not flower. Next year….

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I love the header photo. A blooming rapeseed field is a glorious sight to behold.

    I use mostly extra virgin olive oil, and if I need a higher smoking point, avocado oil. It does make a difference what you use for cooking, though for me it’s more in the taste than how it manifests in my digestion. Another consideration is that oil turns rancid if it sits around too long, so how many bottles of oil can you justify having next to the stove, especially if you’re cooking only for two people?

    Most canola oil is GMO, and for some people that’s an issue. There are organic, non-GMO canola oils available, but it’s most likely not what you’re going to find at your local supermarket. I suspect that canola oil is as popular as it is because it’s inexpensive and has a neutral taste.

    I consider myself lucky that I don’t have allergies or digestive issues related to food. Husband has developed an allergy this year, but we have yet to figure out the cause of it. Hope the heck it isn’t dust or animals.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

      No one is mentioning bacon grease. There is no more flavorful fat than that, nor is there one more unhealthy. My grandma cooked with bacon grease a lot. There was always a can of it at the back of the counter and near the stove. She lived to age 99 so she tolerated it well.

      I use a lot of olive oil and a bit of peanut oil for stir fry. I have some canola oil in the house, but I do not fry food much, (just bacon) so it is used slowly and does not seem to affect either Lou or me.

      I don’t know that I have a favorite road food, unless I want to really research restaurants and take the time to stop and enjoy local fare. When in Iowa there is a restaurant that has delicious pork tenderloin sandwiches, but of course that has been off limits for about 2 years now because of you.know.what. That Voldemort of viruses.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. You will all cringe at this. My mother, who cooked only with lard she had rendered down, saved lots of grease after cooking and would then use it for other meals. It was in a small crock on the counter. Wonder how often she changed it.

          Liked by 5 people

        2. Didn’t need to change it, she used it up. I’d be willing to bet that some of the flavors we remember from childhood (that’s those of us over, say, 70) had to do with the grease used in cooking.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Speedway (now owned by 7-11) makes delicious egg rolls. Slightly crispy wrap. Pork and veggies innards. 170 calories/ roll.
    At home, I use olive oil. That is especially important for my chili which is made with ground bison which has very little fat. I never need to worry about putting in too much oil. The whole works go in the pot.
    Liver. Liver makes me sick. I avoid it by choice not out of necessity.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. it reminded me of a woody allen joke about the two guys ordering food and one ordered a tongue and the other guy said he couldn’t do it thinking where it had come from
          ok what will you order?
          egg salad


  3. Just back from the Farmers’ Market. What a lovely morning. Balmy temperatures with very high humidity, could almost feel my skin absorbing moisture. Today’s haul: Japanese eggplant, large red pepper, broccoli, large bunch of cilantro and dill, zucchini and summer squashes, and one those flat cabbages that the Hmong farmers grow. Oh, and a tray of okra. Don’t have specific plans for any of it at the moment, but hope inspiration strikes between now and dinner time. Need I tell you there isn’t much in the way of food that I avoid, including liver? It’s all about choices, some things are just more appealing to me than others.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Liver is one of my best foods. Has to be cooked right, which I do not know how to do. Used to be a cheap meal in restaurants. Not now.
      Favorite road food for Sandra, McDonald’s of course. For me crackers, lunch meats and cheeses from Schmidt’s meat market in Nicollet, some olives, some tangy mustard, and Sandra’s wonderful chocolate chip cookies eaten at a picnic table, best in a shelter with rain falling around us.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I love liver, and I agree it has to be cooked right. Overdone, it’s dry and like eating shoe leather. It’s best fried in bacon grease with lots of soft onions, mashed potatoes and gravy, and for the coup de grace, Brussels sprouts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t know I’ve ever had to say these words out loud. I have never eaten liver. Liver and onions was one of the meals that my mother had to endure every week growing up and she vowed that once she was on her own she would never make it. And she never did. Then I became a vegetarian at age 16 and squashed the opportunity to ever try liver.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I have a pie cookbook from the Norsk Nook. In fact if we ever have Pi Fay again, one of those pies on the menu.


    1. Last time I stopped at the Norske Nook, most of the pies were cream pies of some sort—pudding in a pie shell—and not the sort of pies—two crust fruit pies—I savor. Most of them looked excessively sweet. I ended up forgoing the pie altogether.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Morning-

    I read or heard something recently about how canola oil was a lubricant and after WW2 because there was millions of acres of it, someone figured out how to refine it and market it as cooking oil. It was fascinating reading. And frustrating and discouraging.

    I think we just use vegetable oil or maybe sunflower oil… we’ve got olive oil, I just don’t think to use it much. I guess I don’t pay too much attention to it.
    I remember the can of lard in the fridge.

    I don’t like mint. I really don’t like mint. I’ll avoid anything with mint anywhere near it. Not allergic, I just really don’t like it.

    There used to be a truck stop south of Rochester. It got torn down 30+ years ago but I still remember the good food they used. (Probably using bacon fat!)
    When I’m the twin cities area, I’ll often stop at SmashBurger especially for the fries. But it’s just olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. And I could do that at home, I just haven’t tried.
    And when I stop at Norcostco (a theatrical supply place) just up the road is JJ’s Clubhouse which has a good Pot Pie.
    And up by Ruehlings (another theater place) is Lynde’s in Osseo. That’s a good place too!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. OT – Just wondering whether Chris will be at the Twin Cities Book Festival 10AM to 5PM October 16 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds?


  6. When I was driving frequently to central Iowa almost 20 years ago, there was a place on I-35 Owatanna, Nickerson Farms, that had the BEST bread pudding in the land.

    I’m not that fond of kale – though one of our varieties in the garden I like better than usual. And if someone else makes a salad of rubbed kale, that’s marvelous – was one of the foods brought to us when first home from hospital.

    I use mostly olive oil, learned at my nutrition job that EVOO has a very low smoke point, so I use that for salads, and regular oil for cooking. Also some organic coconut oil (unrefined?), sesame oil for oriental things, I think there’s some walnut oil somewhere… And I do use bacon grease when we are in bacon mode, but not right now.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. We’re olive oil gals here as well. I don’t really have any road foods that I long for when I travel. I will say however that whenever I go to St. Louis, I try to go to Steak ‘n Shake to get an orange freeze and their shoestring fries.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. years ago I heard Calvin Trillin speak and I Musta bought his book but the bottom line was that he said eat local and it was a time when I was traveling a lot and so instead of eating at the national chains I would try and find local joints that served local delicacies and because I traveled a lot the local joints were in Italy and Germany and England and Turkey and Hong Kong and China and it was very interesting trying to figure out how toDo that without necessarily understanding the language but needing to make it clear that I didn’t do meat

    Italy obviously was wonderful China maybe not so obviously was wonderful and there were lots of very exotic things for me to eat in China THAILAND was incredible where they do a mixture of citrus and heart is kind of what I found to be their specialty that I loved noodles or volcanoes with all sorts of sauces but needing to make sure that the sauces or vegetarian

    Locally I had a guy that worked for me that said doing eggs Ranchero vegetarian is always interesting and so I’ve done that many many times I love hashbrowns as stated earlier today it had dawned on me the canola oil might be watch raising hell with my digestive system I will stop using it tomorrow and plug in olive oil avocado oil grapeseed oil whatever but it’s going to be like buying premium gas at the pump so I’m used to paying $15 for 3 gallons and I’m gonna have to start paying 15 bucks for a court and I burn through a lot a lot a lot of oil

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I usually have olive oil, coconut oil, and canola oil in the house. The olive oil is the go-to for most savory dishes, and the coconut or canola oil for sweeter things. Butter is good with rice and in soups, and bacon fat for eggs and pasta sauces. Very occasionally I’ll get truffle oil for a pasta sauce.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Just olive oil (bio) organic I think you call it and bio coconut oil but I always have a stomach ache when I eat in restaurants here in France. I thought it was salt. Who knows? I will investigate canola oil usage. 🙏 for the tip.


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