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Whenever I go to the store these days, it’s with camera phone ready.
(You know you’re Paleo/Primal/Fully-invested-in-being-a-jerk-at-Wegman’s when you knock an old lady over to instagram a picture of “extra virgin corn oil.”)
Just kidding! I’m not on instagram.
I’ve noticed lately that coconut oil is way en vogue. I’ve almost given up finding it at the store. TT has become my CO BFF. Dunno if all the “Paleos” in town are beating me to the supply line, or if Dr. Oz has completed his broken-clock rotation and been right for the second time.
The cooking oil shelves in the “crunchy” section are a veritable Pu-pu platter of safflower, corn, canola and sesame oils. And no coconut oil, save for one sad little jar. I have a problem with taking the last of anything, so I went home empty-handed.
This is what the shelves in the Crunchy section look like (I take minor graphic license).
And – just for the record – this is how the image translates in my brain:
That’s how my head works. (warning: sound)
One of my favorite Real Food bloggers (I think it was Jenny at Nourished Kitchen, but I can’t seem to find the post) recently posed an interesting question. She asked whether this turned-mainstream obsession with coconut oil is going to be sustainable long-term, from an availability standpoint or an environmental perspective. More demand generally means more unscrupulous production practices.
(Then again, maybe there’s some selection bias here. Maybe the non-crunchy section sells out of Canola oil all the time.)
I look at the mainstream acceptance of coconut oil – a highly saturated fat – as generally good news, as folks ditch their sat-fat-phobia. Yet the most sustainable, locally-produceable type of nourishing fat, truly, would be animal fat.
Most of us could technically have a backyard stockpile of nourishment-giving chickens (schmaltz), pigs (lard), and even a cow (tallow). Coconut isn’t native to most of our regions. At the very least, we can get these animal fats from local farmers, so they don’t have to travel across the world to make it to our shelves.
Should we actively push for more animal-fat acceptance? The virtues of animal fats are a major part of my upcoming book.