MELBA'S SWAP SHOP
WHAT'S IN YOUR SALAD OIL?
DEAR MELBA: I would like to know what kind of oil was called “salad oil” in the 1940s and '50s? I'm sure olive oil has been around forever, but I believe it has always been referred to as “olive oil.”
Liquid Crisco did not hit the scene until 1960, so that's not “salad oil.” Do you have any idea what it was? Some salad dressing recipes call for a lot of oil, and I'm not really fond of olive oil. And large amounts of Crisco oil can kind of “get to you,” if you know what I mean.
— BILL FISHER, Harrah
Maybe readers can answer your question. It certainly put me in research mode. I recall being told many years ago that I should specify which oil to use in a recipe instead of saying “salad oil.” So I changed and try to remember to specify vegetable oil, corn oil, olive oil or Canola oil. And my research says: Vegetable oil is made from a plant source, such as vegetables, nuts or seeds.
Corn oil is high in polyunsaturates. This odorless, almost tasteless oil is obtained from the endosperm of corn kernels. It has a high smoke point, therefore is good for frying. It's also used in baking, for salad dressings and to make margarine.
Canola oil is Canada's most widely used oil, but is becoming more popular in the U.S. daily. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids. The unsaturated fat is reputed to contribute to brain growth and development. (I want some of that.)
So, I haven't come near to answering your question, but I enjoyed the research. We'll still wait for readers to answer your question. What IS salad oil?