Can I just ask one question? No, that question doesn't count as my one question. Here is my question: why in the world are we so obsessed with olive oil? I'm not talking about Popeye's gf, although she had a certain 'je ne sais quoi' about her. No, I'm talking about that golden liquid fat you have sitting in your cupboard right now.
I blame Rachel Ray with her annoying EVOO thing. I think she started using "EVOO" just so she wouldn't have to say the word "virgin" and make all those stay-at-home moms sweat something unnatural. And now look: our fear of a little v-word has increased our dependence on foreign (olive) oil.
More discussion on socially challenging v-words some other day. Maybe.
Ok, I kid, I kid. Regardless, I do believe that olive oil has become the basic cooking oil in lots of American kitchens, and the kicker is that no one can really tell the difference when cooking with olive oil or a basic vegetable oil. I've never sat down to a tater tot hotdish dinner at my mom's house and asked, "Mom, did you use triple-processed extra virgin olive oil to saute the onion and hamburger hidden underneath these tots? It's delicious!" Nope, never happens. However, US demand for the stuff has been growing by 20% every year, and out of all the olive oil consumed in the US, less than 1% is produced domestically.
Please pardon the statistics. I'm an economics nerd at heart.
Wait, there's a happy ending to this one. Being lucky Dakotans, we live in a sea of plentiful, healthy, homegrown oil: Welcome to Canola Country. Out of the 1 million canola acres planted in the US, 90% of them are in good 'ol ND and MN.
Hey, I'm not an olive oil hater; in fact, I really like it in salads, pasta dishes, and the occasional bread-and-balsamic soak, but for your everyday swirl-in-the-pan, kick Rachel (bless her heart) in the teeth and bring on the all-American canola oil!
Or Canadian. Close enough.