Jul 18th, 2009 by Amy
Originally, I was going to simply write a one paragraph post helping people understand that they should not be afraid to use butter when necessary. Unfortunately, I realized how much emotional turmoil I have when it comes to this subject and others. A nice recipe for a Buttered Pea and Potato Salad had somehow turned into a major rant against fake butter and “light” olive oil. I apologize to any margarine lover and extra virgin olive oil hater I may offend in the process of reading this post!
I think (and hope) that our countries obsession with being and eating “fat free” is pretty much over. When the Atkins Diet was the biggest thing I started worrying that the earth was coming to a quick end and we’d all die skinny but sad and craving a steaming bowl of pasta. Why are some Americans so obsessed with supposedly eating “healthy” when they are actually eating completely unhealthy?
Substituting crap like margarine for butter is ridiculous. I think that this WikiAnswer explains why. In fact, this Serious Eats post helps put into perspective the vast number of fake butter “spreads” that exist around the world. How sickening that people want to buy a product that actually tells them it is NOT butter? Hello, people! They are telling us loud and clear that this is something created to taste like a real, natural product but isn’t! Then why not eat the real thing? I’m so confused.
And while we’re discussing Americans ability to be a sucker for lower fat items while being willing to compromise it for lower quality, lower flavor and lower nutritional value, it’s no surprise that the US could’ve easily fallen for this trick if it worked (and even though these guys were caught, I’m sure there are many make it here and are being purchased every day). I shudder to think that anyone would actually buy something labeled “light olive oil”. Why? WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY (screaming)? Why would anyone take something that is pure, natural and good for you and hack away at it until it can be labeled light? Light olive oils are a marketing hook, people! They are not lighter in calories than regular olive oil but, instead, lighter in color, taste and nutritional value (hmmm, no crap – they are heavily modified through heating and filtering and not really olive oil!). Here’s a look at what those light olive oils are really about:
“Light” olive oil is a marketing concept and not a classification of olive oil grades. It is completely unregulated by any certification organizations and therefore has no real precedent to what its content should be. Sometimes, the olive oil is cut with other vegetable oils.
So in order for consumers to feel like they are actually eating “light”, they are willing to compromise flavor, health and deliciousness. According to a 1989 NY Times Article, ‘‘Light olive oil was invented by the Bertolli company in this office in Secaucus, N.J.,” said William C. Monroe, president of Bertolli USA. ”It’s an American invention.” Nothing screams fabulous, healthy product like the words, “created in an office in Secaucus, NJ”. Have you ever been to Secaucus? Enough said. (Why am I laughing at the thought of people taking vacations to trod through the “olive tree fields” in Seacaucus as a cheap alternative to a trip to Italy? Maybe those are the same people willing to buy into the whole light olive oil trick?)
If anyone is going to use this “light” olive oil stuff, please keep it’s use to high heat cooking (olive oil has a low smoke point) or baking. But, if that’s the case, why not just use other natural kind of oils?
I feel confident closing this rant by giving you a natural and delicious side dish recipe. Use real unsalted butter. Do not take shortcuts. Do not be worried about the fat. Did you know that 1 tablespoon of butter has less calories than 1 tablespoon of olive oil? Don’t be afraid! Just embrace it. Even our good friend, Caviar and Codfish used it in their Pea and Potato Salad!
- 1/2 pound of fresh shelled peas (or a box of frozen peas)
- 8 small new potatoes, boiled till medium-soft and sliced in half (or about 12-16 fingerling potatoes)
- 1/4 pound slab of prosciutto (or you can get it sliced in thick slices), julienned
- 1/2 onion, thin sliced in half moons (we used Vidalia, but white onion or shallots could be used)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons julienned basil
- 2 tablespoons julienned sage
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Boil potatoes until firm but not crunchy (between 8 and 12 minutes depending on size of potatoes). Use a knife to check. Remove from water using slotted spoon and reserve water.
- Bring water back to boil and throw fresh peas in for two to three minutes until tender. If using frozen peas, throw in for 30 seconds to one minute – they just need warming up. Drain.
- Immediately, in a bowl, combine the potatoes and peas with the herbs, prosciutto, onion and butter and toss it all together. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!