Buying Cooking and Salad Oils

There are a variety of cooking oils available out there…all with their proponents and detractors.   It isn’t even hard to find free downloadable cookbooks using oils, I have some good ones at the bottom of this post. 
American brands of salad oils, like Crisco, Mazola and Wesson, were advertised that they can be heated to normal cooking temps without spattering or burning.  They are usually cheaper than very good olive oils, and are essentially tasteless, making them good for baked goods.
Made from ripe olives, olive oil is best for drizzling on salads, pasta, and bread. It’s okay to use the oil for a quick sauté or for baking, but it has a low smoke point (the temperature at which the oil begins to break down and starts to smoke), so it’s not good for deep frying.  It also has more flavor, which may interfere with baking recipes unless they are traditional for using olive oil.  Buy a good brand, some of them are not really all olive oil, researchers have found.  I have had good luck with Kirkland’s Toscano brand in 1 litre bottles.
One of my favorite specialty oils is walnut oil. While expensive, walnut oil is ideal for desserts, breads, salad dressings and other recipes that benefit from a nutty flavor.  I found it last time at Whole Foods...La Tourangelle is the brand.  I keep mine in my refrigerator door.
My other staple is sesame oil. I keep dark sesame oil for making dressings and stir-fry sauces.  I have China Bowl brand.  I also refrigerate it because I don't use it every day.
Let's talk about coconut oil.  I don't use it.  Here's why:
"Over a year since research out of the American Heart Association said coconut oil isn't healthy, dietitians are still telling people to avoid eating much of it.
Coconut oil is more than 80 percent saturated fat — far beyond butter (63 percent), beef fat (50 percent) and pork lard (39 percent), according to the American Heart Association. It has "no known offsetting favorable effects," the AHA said in a past advisory stating coconut oil could actually increase LDL ("bad") cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease."  USA Today 12/14/18

Some cautions with any cooking oils; don’t buy more than you can use up in a reasonable time, they will get rancid after opening.  Store out of the light and heat. 

For some of Mom’s recipes…Check out these free, downloadable cookbooks using salad oils.  Remember, it many cases you can choose the oil you like best for the recipe.  You can look at the book with the "View" choice or "Download" it as a PDF for free.

Crisco Cook Book 1984 Download


  1. I love Walnut Oil too. And, just like you, I don't use any coconut oil. Really don't use any coconut products either.

  2. I do use coconut oil (refined, so no flavor) when I am searing beef before making a stew. I just seem to be able to use so much less oil and the quality of the sear is better. So my use is specific and limited.

    I use safflower oil for all my high-temp searing and cooking. Organic, virgin, first cold pressed olive oil is my choice for salads. And I do love a good, dark, toasted sesame oil for all my asian-style cooking. It's not so much a cooking oil as a flavoring, really.

    I have never tried walnut oil; I am intrigued at the thought of the nutty flavor for baking. I need to keep my eye out for a sale. Avocado oil is another I'd be willing to try if I could get it on sale.


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