Did You Know?

A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that higher sugar consumption among women was correlated with lower HDL (good cholesterol), higher LDL (bad cholesterol), and higher triglyceride levels.

- Fact #37

Deborah says: “I know this cookware will cause some sticker shock. It IS very expensive, but it’s the ultimate in nonstick. The brand’s craftsmanship is impeccable and is only exceeded by its performance. A Swiss Diamond skillet can go into a 500° oven while ordinary nonstick is guaranteed only to 350°. Best of all, it will last forever. I can’t tell you how many nonstick skillets I threw out before I bought Swiss Diamond.”

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Pooling Oil
Maximum flavor with minimum fat

Let’s say you’re going to take a bath. Your tub holds 50 gallons of water, and you can soak up to your chest in it. But, instead of 50 gallons, you only put 1 gallon of water in the tub…

Now—instead of your bathtub, water, and you- consider a skillet, oil, and minced garlic. To get the maximum flavor out of an aromatic vegetable such as garlic, it must be coated with oil. The coating seals in the garlic’s water and prevents it from being released, which would dilute the garlic’s flavor. Also, since fat both intensifies and conveys flavor, the oil coat transmits the garlic flavor to the surrounding oil and eventually to all the other ingredients in the dish—which is the goal, after all.

This system works as long as the oil in the skillet is deep enough to coat the garlic. But what happens when you use only a small quantity of oil, say 1 tablespoon, in a 12″ skillet (which I often do)? That’s more than 113 square inches! (Remember A = пr²?) If you spread your single tablespoon all over the pan at the outset, the layer of oil will be too thin to coat the garlic effectively. As the pan heats up, the garlic will release its water in the form of steam, diluting the flavor you’re trying to impart. However, if you keep the oil in a little pool, the layer will be much thicker in that small area than if you were to spread the oil around. When you add your minced garlic to this small area, it will behave as it would in a skillet containing much more oil. After the garlic releases its flavor to the oil (i.e. when it becomes fragrant), you can distribute it over your entire pan and proceed with your recipe.

So, if you want to keep flavor high and fat or calories low in your cooking, pool your oil!


  • October 23 2009, 1:04 PM
    Megan O'Block

    interesting - i have never heard of this pooling oil concept - I’m looking forward to trying it - I’m sure I add too much oil to my pan as it is.

  • December 2 2009, 11:50 AM

    Have seen this method at a Japanese chef. He kept the skillet inclined, over the fire, so the oil gathered in the lower side of the skillet (the side towards the handle) and once the garlic (or anything else he used) got fragrant he spread the oil in the whole skillet. I have been doing the same ever since with very tasty results :-)

  • December 2 2009, 12:36 PM

    Wow, Erika, that’s really interesting. I had no idea anyone else did it. Very glad to know. Thanks!

  • April 9 2010, 10:38 AM

    I love your insight on healthy cooking. Very knowledgeable. I always use less oil to saute garlic and such, this is a wonderful tip!

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