Saturday, April 30, 2011

Being a Bit More Careful Now . . .

So we had quite a week.  First, on Monday morning, my 2 year old daughter woke up puking noodles.  And I mean - literally.  She was throwing up undigested rice noodles in her pillow.  Poor little thing was so confused.  It was the first time she'd ever experienced throwing up.  She was fine after a few hours - and back to normal later that day.  However, it was an unusual occurrence.  Then Wednesday, I had been feeling fine all day.  All of us ate the same dinner, at home.  Middle of the night Wednesday night/very early Thursday morning, I was up tossing my cookies all night long.  My husband had to go out to the market and buy some ginger ale for me - just so I could get my stomach settled enough to go back to sleep.  I slept for a bit - but felt really sick.  Thursday - I laid around most of the day because Adam was off work and I needed some rest.  I was fine Friday and still feel just fine.

However - today is when it all came together for me.  My sweet two year old and I were making a pie.  I was assisting her in making the pie crust .  I was out of the canola oil that I normally use in that recipe and I thought we'd just substitute grapeseed oil - one of my favorite oils to use for all-purpose cooking.  I had purchased a large, 2 quart bottle of grapeseed oil from the wholesale store just about a month ago.  It had been stored in my pantry and I never really gave it much thought.  Normally, when I use it, I am juggling my 11-month old baby and redirecting my two year old as I'm trying to throw dinner together.  I don't really think about my oil and it's condition.  Anyway - today, when I was hovering over my girl - to make sure she was not making a huge mess out of the pie dough - I noticed the unmistakable scent of rancid oil.
It all started to make sense.  I had used the grapeseed oil when I made the sauce for her rice noodles the night before she had gotten sick.  Then I had used the same oil the night before I'd gotten sick when I ran out of the other oil I had used to make dinner for the rest of the family.  And I was the only one that ate from the affected batch.  I thought it tasted funny - so after I had tried it, I didn't serve it to the rest of the family.  Fortunately, they all ate from the first batch - the batch made with fresher oil.  Without knowing it - I had been very close to serving rotten oil to my 11-month old son.  He ate the same dinner as the rest of us that night.  I'm just so glad he didn't eat from the bad batch.  I can't imagine that he wouldn't have had to be taken to the ER if he was vomiting all night and becoming dehydrated.
I'm posting this story because it is something that could happen in anyone's kitchen.  A bottle of oil is used time and time again - and most of us never think to smell it once in a while to be sure it isn't spoiled.  We check other ingredients for freshness - milk, eggs, fish - but rarely even think about the oil.  At least, I never used to think about the oil.
Today - after the first pie crust was ruined from my rancid oil, I gave it some good thought . . . and I did a  small amount of research to find that many oils we buy at the market are somewhat rancid when we buy them.  They go through a lot of refining and that removes much of the odor and taste we normally associate with rancidity.  One exception is olive oil - because it is mainly a monounsaturated fat (as opposed to a polyunsaturated fat).  However, olive oil should still be refrigerated and used up within a month.  And get this - many doctors and other nutrition experts recommend not using vegetable oils (soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil) at all.  The oils that are said to be more healthful for us include, palm oil, coconut oil and even butter.  This all may sound a little crazy - but do a little reading, and comment on this article if you have any helpful fat tips. 
As for me - I think I will be more careful about storing oils.  I also think that I will do more cooking with olive and coconut oils. 

1 comment:

  1. Hope you and the family are feeling better. Thanks for the info. I rarely check my cooking oils. I'll start doing it because of this post!

    Hope all is well with you. Tell Adam I said hello.