The Great Stonesoup Oil Crisis
(Are You using the Wrong Oil?)
+ Pregnant Lady Mayonnaise

Pregnant Lady Mayo-2

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] Y[/dropcap]ou know that uneasy feeling you get when something isn’t right? But for whatever reason you keep pushing the feeling away with your best ostrich-head-in-the-sand impersonation.

For ages I had that feeling about my cooking oils.

Back in the day, I used to keep two oils in the house. An expensive extra virgin olive oil for salads and drizzling and a cheap olive oil for cooking.

It was simple and pretty economical. Life was good.

Then I started reading about olive oil having a low smoke point. Which means it breaks down at high temperatures releasing free radicals and other nasties. Not great for cooking.

So I did some research and switched my cooking oil to rice bran oil.

Why rice bran oil?

It has a nice high smoke point. So stable for cooking with. And I could get it in bulk at the supermarket so it’s not prohibitively expensive. Plus is doesn’t have much flavour so I could use it for my mayo too.

Back to the good life. Or so I thought…

Over time I started to learn about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s are the ones that come to mind when you think of the benefits or fish oils. Omega-6s, tend to be found in vegetable oils and unlike omega-3s they aren’t great for your health. Mainly because they promote inflammation.

Wasn’t rice bran oil really a type of vegetable oil?

That nagging thought tried to push through but I just buried my head a little deeper in the sand. And as any good ostrich knows it’s pretty difficult to hear much less think down there.

But since I’ve been experimenting with eating MORE fat. I had to let the thought through.

And wouldn’t you know it? Rice bran oil has virtually no omega-3s and loads of omega-6 fatty acids. Not good.

More research…

I tried coconut oil but wasn’t a fan of the flavour in all situations. I tried macadamia oil but the flavour didn’t work so well and besides I couldn’t afford more than a tiny bottle. Avocado oil didn’t work on both flavour and smoke point grounds. Peanut oil was just as bad as rice bran from a fatty acid perspective. And I already knew to avoid canola or any other ‘vegetable oil’.

What did that leave?

Olive oil, duck fat (delicious but expensive) or clarified butter / ghee (tasty but some work required).

So I looked further into the olive oil thing. And finally got some good news.

Extra virgin olive oil did indeed have a low smoke point (160C / 320F). But refined olive oil, my old favourite ‘cheap’ oil, had a respectable smoke point (200C / 400F). Surely I wasn’t often exposing my food to temperatures higher than that?

So I started checking the temperatures as I was cooking with (luckily my Irishman has a ‘thing’ for temperature probes so we own a laser temperature gun). And the actual food wasn’t getting that hot. Phew.

The great Stonesoup Oil Crisis was resolved.

I went back to using two olives oils plus a few more. Here’s where I’m at today…

My Current Fats & Oils Collection

1. Extra virgin olive oil.
For salad dressings and drizzling.

2. Extra light olive oil.
For every day cooking such as pan frying and roasting. And making mayo as in the recipe below.

3. Coconut Oil.
For baking sweet treats, cooking stir frys and curries. I love the sweet flavour it gives to cakes but not so keen on it with my breakfast fried eggs and kale.

4. Salted Butter.
Our favourite is Kerrygold the Irish butter. Butter from grass fed cows is preferable because the type of feed influences the types of fatty acids in the butter. So grass-fed = more beneficial omega-3s. I actually came home with 6kg (12lb) Kerrygold in my suitcase on our recent trip to Ireland.

5. Unsalted Butter.
For baking cakes etc. I use it when I don’t want the flavour of coconut oil to come through.

6. Duck Fat.
This saturated fat is really stable so great for roasting at high temps. It’s also super delicious especially on roast potatoes. Expensive though.

7. Rice Bran Oil.
On the odd occasion that I deep fry food, rice bran oil is my go-to because it is stable at high temps. Since I’m not frying very often I figure the exposure to the extra omega-6s isn’t going to cause a big problem.

What about you?

What oils do you use for cooking? Are you having your own great oil crisis? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

Pregnant Lady Mayo

Pregnant Lady Mayo

By using boiling water you can ‘pasteurize’ your egg yolks and make safe mayo for pregnant ladies… hooray! Also much safer for everyone else. Will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

This recipe can be halved, but if your food processor is very large you’ll need to be extra careful when adding your oil to make sure it doesn’t split. And I like the flavour that onion powder gives but it’s totally optional.

I used to not like using olive oil for mayo because I found it gave a bitter taste. But there’s a food science solution to this! Just be sure to be generous when seasoning with salt because salt helps to mask bitter flavours. It really makes a huge difference.

makes: 3 cups
takes: 15 minutes

2 egg yolks at room temperature
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice, sherry or white wine vinegar
1 scant teaspoon onion powder (optional)
3 cups extra light olive oil or other neutral flavoured oil

1. Whizz egg yolks and boiling water together in your food processor with a big pinch of salt. Add mustard and vinegar and whizz again.

2. With the motor still running, add the oil a few drops at a time, then build up to a thin stream and then a slightly more daring stream until most of the oil is incorporated.

3. Taste and season, adding the onion powder now (if using). Feel free to add more vinegar, onion powder or mustard if you like. Whizz to combine.

4. If the mayo is a little too runny, add the remaining oil. Too firm, add a little cold water.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Video version of this recipe.


no mustard – just skip it!

herby – stir chopped herbs like chives, dill, parsley or basil through your finished mayo.

garlicky – add a clove or two of crushed garlic.

lemony – replace vinegar with lemon juice and add the zest of 1 lemon.

limey – replace vinegar with lime juice and add the zest of 1 lime.

no food processor – just whisk by hand. Will work just as well and give you good arm muscles at the same time!

Big love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Soupstones Square Logo no border

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] L[/dropcap]ooking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details Click HERE.



  • I have found that in 90% of all instances of either stovetop or oven cooking, olive oil works just fine. Primarily because I rarely if ever use high enough heat to cause the Olive Oil to smoke (low & slow makes tender and tasty food…) If I need to sear something to get the maillard reaction going, I will invariably resort to the use of my outdoor grill which needs/uses no oil. Cheers! Steve

  • I think you hit the nail on the head. So much of our food information is supported by advertising dollars and not fact. Variety, is what I believe, is the most important. A little of this and a little of that. Too much of any thing, well almost every thing, is not good for you.
    Chefs do not eat they sample, so sample. It is surprising what you will run into.
    The Brazilian health department had put together a food guide, dietary food guide,which is a pretty much down to earth way of what we put into our body.
    I do believe that variety is the spice of life, so…,
    do keep your life spicey.

  • Great rundown on oils — it *is* a complicated subject and each time we learn one thing, it seems like before long more information comes out to contradict what we *thought* we knew!
    I do want to say, though, that I’m wondering if you might have been misinformed about avocado oil. In fact, it has one of the highest smoke points of all oils — 500 degrees (F) and an extremely mild (pretty much non-existent, to my tastes) flavor so it works great in virtually any cooking and in making mayo. (I’ve got no “connection” to the avocado oil folks! Just don’t want people to inadvertently get the wrong idea from what you’d said about it.)
    Always enjoy your blog!

    • I totally agree with you on avocado oil. I think some is strongly flavored possibly because I’ve heard some people wondering about their green mayo – mine is clear and tasteless. It’s become my go to oil. Love the boiling water suggestion on this mayo. Will give it a try when my current jar of avocado oil mayo runs out.

  • Hi Jules,
    I’ve been around the garden path a little, oil-wise, too. I use butter, coconut and olive oil (and have rice bran oil in the cupboard for those moments I’ve run out of the others, or feel it might work, but I’m a little wary of it!). Aside from making ‘fake chocolate’, Coconut oil also gets used as body moisturiser and face paint remover! It’s really useful and reassuring for me to read about your experiments, so thank you.

  • Hi Jules
    Tim Ferriss recommends grapeseed oil (with a “g”). It has a high smoke point and a neutral flavour. Good for cooking and in dressings. Worth a try. His recipe in 4H chef for bokchoi and steamed chicken is good.

  • Hi Jules, thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge about oils.
    I agree with you about olive oil and coconut oil. I’ve been thinking about it lately but I din’t make so deep research. Thanks!

  • Recently, I went through the same process of trying to get to the right side of healthy fats. Eventually, I narrowed it down to 4:

    1) Coconut Oil — I use a Whole Kernel version and love the flavour, especially for stir frying

    2) Ghee — This is used for those things that Coconut Oil wouldn’t taste right in such as scrambled eggs

    3) Pastured Butter — For spreading on fresh bread — yummmmm!

    4) Macadamia Oil & Avocado Oil — For salad dressings (depending on type) and drizzling

    Okay, that’s really 5 but I use the Macadamia Oil and Avocado Oil interchangeably, and besides, I am well-known in my circle for not being able to add. (And yes, I use spreadsheets for everything!)

  • I have been using extra virgin coconut oil for a lot of my cooking. Apart from that I use avocado oil (haven’t noticed any flavor to it) and occasionally I’ll use EVOO, and that mostly for salads. I don’t deep fry at all. I’m also not a huge fan of olive oil flavor, except for one bottle that I bought at Qumran in Israel, which was simply amazing. I’ve known for a while that some of the vegetable oils are strictly omega-6, and some are chemically processed, so I’ve been avoiding those for a while now. My use of oils has just sort of evolved as I’ve learned.

  • Hi Jules, Great article and I agree with Arden’s comments – I’m in line with almost everything you wrote except the part about Avocado Oil. Its almost impossible to find regular Olive Oil in Florida these days, only EVO, so when I learned more about the harmful effects of burnt oil a few years ago, I switched to Avocado Oil for most of my stove-top cooking and barely noticed the difference. Like you, I use Coconut Oil for baking and I’m also a huge fan of Kerrygold butter … divine! It’s impossible to cook a good curry without ghee or unsalted butter, so that’s also a staple at our house … and thanks to you, I was introduced to Macadamia oil a couple of years ago and use it for dishes with a more delicate flavor. High temperatures destroy the nutrients in most foods anyway so it’s far healthier to cook slowly at lower temps or very quickly at higher temps e.g. lightly sautéed veggies or flash fried fish and meat to seal in the flavor and juices. Burning food creates carcinogens which we should avoid at all costs, so I’m glad to see you spreading the word about fats the heal and fats that harm.
    Thanks for all your useful advice and fantastic recipes!

  • Thanks Jules for this great information and from all the comments too. I get so confused (and a little worried) with which oil for what so I am printing this out for future reference. Thanks again.

  • also forgot to thank you for the tip re using eggs in mayo and how to “pasteurize” your eggs.

    • Welcome Sally!
      I was so excited when I had the idea to try this out… 9 months with no home made may is almost harder than 9 months without wine!

  • Thank you for this article. Oils have always been very confusing to me. I agree with others that variety is very important since we are always getting new/different health information. Also, it is true as Julibel noted that it is impossible (in my experience) to find any other olive oil than extra virgin in Florida. For high heat cooking (mostly oven roasting) I use Avocado or Macadamia. I do think Avocado has a distinct flavor that I don’t love, but with certain things it’s ok (potatoes and carrots in the oven). I really love Macadamia oil and do splurge on it. I also love my salad dressing oils, like a good EVOO, Walnut Oil (my fav!!!) and extra virgin sesame oil. Thanks again for your article and of course – butter rocks!

  • I don’t know why people go in for such esoteric (and expensive) oils.
    Virgin Olive oil is great for salads, but does not work for high temperature cooking. Sunflower oil does. It does not have any
    obtrusive flavours. If you need quick browning, add a bit of butter.
    I’ve been cooking for more than seventy years and sunflower oil is always in my kitchen.

    • Good for you cooking for over 70 years Elsy!
      If you’re happy with your sunflower oil keep using it. I choose not to because it has a very high omega-6 fatty acid content which is known to contribute to inflammation in the body which leads to many health problems.

  • Hi Jules. There’s a different argument here, from authors that check the quality of the research they cite (not that I’m suggesting you don’t, of course!), that extra-virgin olive oil is not only safe to cook with, but better than refined olive oil. The phenolic compounds in EVO stabilise the oil during heating, so the less refined the better:
    Fortunately, we have great quality olive oil in Australia by world standards, so my approach is to use it for pan frying and roasting, as well as for salads etc. It fits with my general aim to use minimally processed ingredients too.

  • Hi Jules – thanks for your very informative post. In our house we got rid of all vegetable/canola oil this year after reading bad things about the Omega 6 as well. We currently use:

    1. Beef tallow – I render this from suet which I order from our butcher and then freeze it in blocks. It has an AWESOME flavour especially when frying eggs. I would encourage everyone to give it a try.

    2. Butter – not a dairy blend but real grass-fed cow salted butter and unsalted for baking.

    3. Lard – bought from supermarket, I think it’s pork fat but it has a neutral flavour so I use some when I fry with butter to stop the butter from burning.

    4. Extra virgin olive oil for dressings.

    One thing I have struggled to find is an oil to use for homemade mayonnaise. Olive oil is too strong in flavour. What would you recommend?

      • Hi Jules, Love the sound of your mayo recipe, however that’s a whole lot of mayo in that recipe, how long will it keep or can I break it down for a (basically)one person volume,
        Also Love your posts and follow your recipes ,
        Many thanks

        • Hi Delwyn
          it only keeps for 1-2 weeks. If you’re going to use a smaller amount I recommend mixing by hand with a whisk because there won’t be enough in the food processor to get thorough mixing and the mayo will split – a lesson I’ve learned the hard way!

  • I have been around the block with oil as well but now want to know what to use in things like muffins as have read that vegetable oil is not the way to .go. Thank you very much.

    Evelyn Owen

  • Hi Jules,
    Living in rural Vermont, within walking distance of cows and pigs, gives plenty of raw milk and leaf-lard. Raw milk is rarely homogenized, so there is plenty of ‘pastured’ cream to whip or make fresh butter. When pie crust is made with half butter and half leaf-lard it is tender and yet so flaky it almost seems to pop when a fork cuts into it.
    I always have some EVOO for salads, canola oil for general use because I really like GMOs, and virgin coconut oil for baking morning wheat bran muffins.

  • Thanks for the great article. I only shallow dry and have been using an Australian ‘light flavour’ oil, so I suppose that is ok. I use coconut oil for fish as that is the traditional one used in Goa (where I live).
    Had thought rice bran was good but will turf that now.

  • My dad is 91 and mom is 88. I’m 61. None of us have been in the hospital for any kind of major surgery and we are all pretty healthy. We live in CT and I have never heard of most of the oils you are talking about. I’m sure none of our stores carry those oils. We have coconut oil but I think my sister told my mom to use it on her Exema. Me, I don’t like the taste of coconut so I wouldn’t want it in my food. We use butter, EVOO, which isn’t so cheap over here even with coupons and reg. oil like corn oil or vegetable oil. I use only a little bit of vegetable oil when I make popcorn on top of the stove. We don’t fry a lot or make salad oil or dressing but when we need it we use it. My parents have always eaten vegetable oil and look at how old they are. Me too. Every year or so they come out with something that says how bad the foods we have been eating forever are or vice versa. Sometimes I wonder about all of it. Thanks for telling us about all those different oils. Oh yeah, I also make my own butter!

    • Good for you Gail!
      You know sounds like your family aren’t eating very much veg oil so I think that may have something to do with it…
      And yay for home made butter!

  • I use butter for frying eggs, coconut butter for pancakes, mix of olive oil and butter (learnt this from Jamie Oliver ) for browning onion. Lard from pastured pigs when making tortillas (not often). Chicken or duck fat I get after roasting the whole bird. I sometimes have bacon fat at hand after frying bacon. Except for olive oil, only animal (mostly saturates) fats.
    And of course, olive oil (extra virgin and cold pressed) for salad.

    • Oh yeah, coconut oil is not animal fat, but is saturated fat, more than butter or lard.
      I don’t usually bother making ghee, butter or butter plus olive oil works just fine.

    • Yes Ozana!
      Mixing butter and oil can help avoid burning..
      And lucky you having access to lard from pastured pigs… yum!

  • My overall take is raw or organic coconut oil , I love soups I make them taste by coconut milk, I rarely fry foods but when ever I do its cold press olive and sesame oils. And coconut oil does it all for my hair, oil pulling, coffee and ear aches…

  • I try not to use oil because it’s fat without nutrition. I use water to sauté. But some times a little oil seems necessary. So I use flax oil in salad dressings when I need to and coconut oil for roasting vegtibles

    • I beg to differ on your comment about oil being fat without nutrition Andrea.
      We need fats and oils for so many bodily functions. Plus they’re a better source of energy than carbs.
      AND they help us absorb nutrients from our veggies plus they help veggies taste better so we’re more likely to eat more veg!

  • After much to-ing and fro-ing I have come to much the same conclusion as you and settled on mainly olive oil, butter and coconut oil and occasionally rice bran oil if I need to deep fry. I have also recently discovered that at Coles supermarkets you can but 500gm of pure dripping for under $3, which is great for roast potatoes and roast meats and might be a good alternative to duck fat if that is too pricey.

    • Thanks Mel!
      I’m happy with my duck fat though.. I find the mouthfeel much less waxy than dripping so worth the extra $$

    • Hooray someone else who enjoys grapeseed. I use it for deepfrying. Once a week for chips. Had a nasty scare reading an articlecsuggesting it wasnt good as weve been having ourvweekly ritual for about 25 years but all good

      • Grapeseed oil isn’t readily available in Australia Marise
        And if it’s only a once a week thing I think you’re fine either way :)

  • Thank you for the wonderful information about canola oil. Advertising and the oil manufactures really fool us all the time. Can you please guide us about the benefits and bad effects of corn oil, sunflower oil and saffola oil. Thanks ever so much for your recipes and your newsletter, I love them all!

    • Hi Jo
      The big problem with these oils is that they have significantly more omega-6 fatty acids (rather than omega-3) and they cause inflammation in the body which leads to many other problems.
      So glad you’re enjoying Stonesoup!

  • Grapeseed oil, it’s full of good omega fats and has a high smoke point. Our pediatrician told us to put a teaspoon of grape seed oil in our baby’s food, to help her brain development. It’s also quite tasty for salads

  • Ever since electric lights replaced candles the billions of advertising dollars from the makers of vegetable oils have dominated general and government opinion. All along research has shown that eaters of saturated fats,like coconut oil,
    have a very slight risk of cardio vascular problems but

  • Ever since electric lights replaced candles the billions of advertising dollars from the makers of vegetable oils have dominated general and government opinion. All along research has shown that eaters of saturated fats,like coconut oil,
    have a very slight risk of cardio vascular problems but live longer than those who eat vegetable oils The reason has come out in resent research.
    I understand that olive oil is not good for non stick pans but would like this confirmed. Great article. Well done

  • Wonderful article! Thank you so much, I feel much better about my recent choices. It has been so confusing.
    I also recently looked into this. I changed to Grape Seed Oil as my cooking oil on the basis of better health. It has a high smoke point and so is promoted as a good choice for high heat cooking like stir frying.
    What I subsequently discovered is the smoke point of oil is NOT the key factor of whether it should be used for cooking.
    As you have advised it’s about the number of double bonds in the fatty acid molecules which is the important factor – Polyunsaturated = many double bonds.
    As you have indicated the double bonds react with oxygen when heated and create harmful compounds and free radicals.
    Because grape seed oil is so incredibly high in POLYUNSATURATED fats, it really is one of the worst oils you could possibly use for cooking.
    I had switched to the worst oil possible.
    With what I know now, I agree with you, the healthiest cooking oils are those that contain mostly saturated fats (like butter and coconut oil). No double bonds and so no damaging compounds after heat and oxygen.
    So where are we at the moment with the oils we use:
    Extra virgin olive oil – A must for all non heat cooking situations (Currently researching unrefined flax seed oil also for this – but very reluctant to use unless confident of the facts)
    Coconut oil for baking
    Animal fats for any other cooking

  • I have recently fallen in love with Spectrum (brand) Organic Sunflower Oil. This is the ingredient listing from bottle:
    100% mechanically (expeller) pressed refined high oleic organic sunflower oil. I keep mine in the fridge.

  • Thanks Jules! I’ve been wondering about your RBO rec for ages, thanks for this post. I’m hoping to get into LARD for my deep frying! Apparently it’s making a comeback- I’ve even seen it at woolies!

  • I’ve recently had a stent fitted in one aorta, and am on meds to reduce platelets, cholesterol, thin blood, et al. For the first few weeks, I was pretty paranoid about oil, but am far more relaxed now. For frying onion, sweet peppers, and the like I use barely teaspoons of olive oil – I simply buy whichever is cheapest at the time – work over medium heat & add splashes of water to keep the veg from sticking to the pan. They fry up just as well as when I used far more oil . . . and I can tell myself it’s the healthier way !

    • Hi Corrine!
      Sorry to hear about your heart probs. Can I recommend you read a book called ‘grain brain’ by Dr David Perlmutter. There’s a lot of information about how lowering cholesterol is harmful for the brain and doesn’t help with cardiac health… just something to consider.

  • Hi Jules,

    I forever struggle with the oil debate. Canola oil is demonised in the US where it is highly processed, GM, contains traces of trans fats….and much more. But in the UK, what we call rapeseed oil is rather different – it’s deep yellow in colour (unlike the pale straw processed version I’ve seen in the US) – and it’s non-GM and cold-pressed – so that should mean less processed. I know that rapeseeds historically contained high levels of harmful acids – but these have now been bred out. And it does have a high smoke point and good omega 3:6 ratio……Yet some websites still demonise it & I’ve yet to find a calm, dispassionate analysis. Anyone have any thoughts? (Please someone post any sensible links!)

    – In the meantime, I hedge my bets by using a mix: cold pressed British rapeseed, butter & coconut for frying, olive oil for drizzling & salads & the odd dash of toasted sesame and macadamia (which is super expensive in the UK).


    PS. – One potential downside of the ‘cheap’ olive oils. – They may not be what they say on the bottle. There have been massive frauds uncovered with olive oil & cheaper brands are often diluted with the harmful, high omega 6, highly processed veg oils & even connoisseurs can’t pick out the tainted versions.- Try googling olive oil fraud…..

    • Hi Lucy!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m familiar with cold pressed Irish rapeseed oil and while it’s a lovely ingredient I don’t use it because it’s not readily available in Australia.

      And it’s still got twice as much omega6 as omega3 and ideally we should be having 1:1.

      But if you’re happy with it then I’d keep using it.

      And thanks for the heads up on the cheap olive oil fraud thing. I was under the impression it was a country of origin issue not a type of oil (which would be pretty easy to spot in a chemical analysis even if not organoleptically)


  • good topic.i always thought that the marketing guys used the smoke point on olive oil to sell other oils.most of us have prolly tried many types.i have pretty much given away deep frying in the as a indulgence out.i use the 4litre tin spanish oil for most things.lots of peeps don’t realise it degrades in sunlight. olive oil butter substitute i use as well as duck fat(it might be dearer but gee it goes a long way on sliced baked spuds).there are arguments against spanish oil manufacturing process against australian practise olive oil, which i find pretty used for non flavouring situations.i applaud those good paleo cooks that use flavour from recycled chicken ,bacon,and animal fats.i am reminded of old car advertising(oils ain’t oils)hehehe.

  • Thanks for sharing your cooking oil research. I appreciate it as I have long been wanting to get to the bottom of the oil issue!

  • Jules,
    I had the same experience you did with coconut oil: didn’t like sweet tasting scrambled eggs! One day in the grocery store I discovered a brand called LouAna, which says “Refined from the meat of mature coconuts so there is no coconut flavor or aroma”. They’re right, works very well and can be used for cooking and baking up to 350 F (about 160 C, I think).
    Don’t know if it is sold outside the US ; check to find out.

  • Hey, Jules!

    I’m a long-time reader and have learned so much from you over the years. Before I had kids, I think I must’ve only been eating cereal, microwave dinners, canned pasta and drive-thru fast food. So glad I found you early on in my journey to figure out to feed my family and myself! Thanks a million times over! It’s been nice to witness your growth, too, as a home cook, a healthy eater and now a mom with a growing family. ?

    I’m heartened to see that I am (hopefully!) on the right track with cooking fats. For now, I use mostly local pastured butter or Kerrygold (thanks to your recommendation), coconut oil, reserved bacon fat and 2 olive oils (light and EVOO). For salad dressings, always EVOO. For eggs, butter or, if I’m not serving any meat, bacon fat for added flavor. For sauteeing, butter or coconut oil, or bacon fat for greens like collards. For roasting vegetables or making kale chips, usually coconut oil or occasionally olive oil if I’m rushed. For baking, butter or coconut oil. Butter or coconut oil work great for curries (haven’t tried to make ghee yet).

    I still struggle a bit with Asian-style stir-fries because I want to use sesame oil for flavor but I know it’s not ideal (I usually go with coconut oil here too). I’ve found that a drizzle of toasted sesame seed oil (stored in the fridge) after removing the wok from the heat works well.

    As for mayo, I only recently began making it because I couldn’t find any version without vegetable oils (ex. soybean), even the “olive oil” ones are largely vegetable oil-based. I use light olive oil (though I cannot find an organic version anywhere!) and the whole egg at a ratio of 1 egg to 1 cup of oil. I crack the egg directly into the glass storage container, pour in the oil and use my immersion/stick blender for less than 30 seconds and voila! Perfectly whipped mayo! I know it’s not so authentic since I technically don’t know how to do the slow drizzle emulsion version but it such a quick and easy trick with almost no clean-up or wasted mayo. One of these days I might experiment with making chipotle mayo but for now I only use it for tuna salad or avocado egg salad (addictive!).

    I hope your pregnancy continues to go as smoothly as possible. I don’t know if you have thought much about how your new addition may affect Fergal but I was a little shocked by how my oldest (2.5 years old at the time) responded when her baby brother was born. Janet Lansbury’s blog, 2 books and especially her podcasts have been AMAZING resources and I swear her ideas have saved my relationships with my kids (now 4.5 years and 20 months) many, many times! She’s brilliant and one of the only blogs I follow, apart from yours and Zen Habits. ? Best of luck to you and your family, and thank you again for sharing your wisdom and ideas with us.


  • Hi Jules:
    I haven’t written for some time, but I still avidly read and digest your weekly messages (pun intended…).
    Regarding oils, I found a good link at
    I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but the chart is nicely laid out.
    It has been such a great shared journey as you progress through your life as a chef, as a wife, and then as a mother. Your insight into good healthy food has been a huge gift to me and my family. Thanks for everything!

  • Hi Jules,
    When using rice bran oil for frying, is it okay to re-use? And if so, what’s the best method for storing it?
    We used to deep-fry in Lard, but after many years of low-fat/no-fat eating, we are making the switch back to healthier oils.

    • You know Sharon if I were you I’d stick with lard because it’s so much more stable.

      I do reuse my oil once or twice. I just strain and store in a tin (or dark coloured glass)


  • are there not issues with the processing methods used for lighter grades of olive oil? I remember reading that Italians call it machine oil not fit for consumption because of the chemicals used to extract it

    • You know Trace there are problems with this as you say. And also fraud with oils from other countries being packaged as Italian. But I’m no so worried about it… The whole thing was giving me a headache!

  • If you have a stick blender you can just put all the mayo ingreds in the jar and whizz – hey presto! none of that tedious dripping? Oh I se Kelly has already told you this

Comments are closed.