"At times it sees that the search for good health has taken all the pleasure out of life. It has stripped us of butter, cream, marbled red meat, pork, and goose fat, not to mention alcohol and fine, hand-rolled cigars. And just when you settle on your favorite healthful fish, you're told it's laced with mercury. Sometimes it feels as though we would be better off being less healthy and enjoying life.
But then, miraculously, there is olive oil. Olive oil, it seems, is the only really good food we are still allowed."
- Mark Kurlansky from "Essential Oil," Bon Appétit, November 2008
This quote from the author of Salt and Cod hits on two...wait, no, three!...of our philosophies here at the Kitchn: take pleasure in what you eat, everything in moderation, and please pass the olive oil.
We think Kurlansky is absolutely right that olive oil is, in many ways, the magical ingredient. Not only does it add excellent flavor to a dishes as simple as plain bread to as complex as a slow-simmered soup, it's good for us too! While everything from bacon fat to Kurlansky's hand-rolled cigars has gotten a bad rap from our nation's health monitors, we can still have our olive oil and eat it too.
Here's some more information on olive oil from our archives:
How to Taste Olive Oil
Understanding Olive Oil Labels
Supermarket Saver: How Much to Pay for Olive Oil
• And be sure to check out Mark Kurlansky's article on olive oil in the current issue of Bon Appétit or online through the Bon Appétit website!
What's your opinion on olive oil and the culinary pleasures in life?
(Image: Gregory Han)