I’m catching on

When it comes to oil, I’m a late bloomer. I freely admit it–but then, I wonder how many other people might be in the same boat.

We’ve just come through an era when “fat” was the enemy, according to misguided research and the understanding of the day. We cringed from fat of any sort, and of course did more harm to ourselves than we did when we were eating the wrong kinds of fat.

And then, the full story came out: Not all fats are created equal. There are bad fats–butter, alas, being one of them–but there also are good fats out there, and our body needs them to prevent the inflammation that has been identified as the real culprit in heart disease. Even saturated fats, like those found in avocados and coconut, are not only OK, they’re beneficial.

So, when George and I began to get really serious about what we eat, we reluctantly admitted that butter should play a smaller part in our diet, but that things like olive, grape seed, and coconut oil were not just allowed, but encouraged.

So, I began experimenting. George loves garlic toast–butter, garlic salt, yum.  Oops, nope, had to change that. So, I tried brushing olive oil on the toast, then a liberal sprinkling of garlic powder, and just a smidge of salt. It has proven to be a very tasty substitute for the old way of doing it.

Remember the dipping oils we found in restaurants,


Photo by Monica Sawyn

the kind that served fresh bread with a side of oil? The first time I did that, I felt positively sinful, soaking up that oil which my fat-is-the-enemy days had told me was a no-no. But I’ve gone back to that.

One of my favorite herbs is rosemary, and I especially like it placed over a piece of pork in the crock-pot where the two flavors can mingle for hours. I fixed that the other day, and had rosemary left over. So I stuck a sprig in a cruet, poured olive oil over it, and let it sit for a few days.

Then one night, we decided to have salad for supper. We’ve eliminated store-bought dressings because they have the wrong kinds of fat and usually have sugar and other unpronounceable ingredients–all of which we’ve eliminated from our diet. So, I was on the prowl for a quick and easy substitute. Enter the cruet of seasoned olive oil.

George and I both sprinkled it on our salads, and rolled our eyes in delight. A little cracked pepper, maybe a slight sprinkling of salt (but don’t overdo) it, and I decided I’d found perfection. I used that same oil to make scrambled eggs tonight. (Oh yes, eggs have been taken off the forbidden list, too.) I think I’ll add a couple cloves of garlic to that salad oil, too. What? You say you’ve been doing this for years? That it’s nothing new? Well, I told you I’m a late bloomer.

Another favorite of ours is olive oil mixed with lots of chili powder, plus onion and garlic powder, a little cracked black pepper, maybe some salt. I brush it on potato wedges and roast them to crispness in the oven, and the other day I did the same with sweet potato slices. Wonderful! I had some left, so today we brushed it on our squash and steamed broccoli and carrots. I never would have thought those herb combinations would be good on veggies. Silly me.

Isn’t it great when something really great tasting is also good for you?


About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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2 Responses to I’m catching on

  1. Jennifer O'Neil says:

    Monica, I totally agree……healthy can be delicious. I’ve learned a few of those tricks over the last few years. It is a delicious way to keep all of those extra pounds off. Now if I could just find a way to not have to live at the gym……. 🙂

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      No gym for me, anymore, and no fast walking, either, because my knees protest right away. I do use the NuStep at the Senior Center, three days a week. I’ve got too many other fun things to do to spend any more time there than that!

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