Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Funerals: It is about the people

I had the pleasure of talking with a young man who is in the "Food and Hospitality" industry in a very affluent part of the US.

He was more than happy to talk about his industry.

Nepali cuisine seems to be The Next Big Thing. Lamb, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, mustard oil and spicy-pickles (Achar or खल्पी).

Mustard oil used to be considered toxic to humans because erucic acid is one of the major short-fatty acids in it, just like rapeseed oil.

Sidebar: Edible fats and oils are generally a backbone of glycerine with three short-fatty-acids grafted to it. Structurally, it is much like the letter Capital E. The properties of the fat or oil are dictated by which short-fatty acids are attached.

If the SFA are straight, un-kinked "saturated" acid like stearic acid then the oil/fat is solid at room temperature.

If the SFA are mostly straight and only slightly kinked like oleic acid then the oil/fat is liquid at room temperature but clouds in the refrigerator.

If the SFA are multiply kinked like linoleic acid then the oil remains liquid and clear even in the refrigerator but is more susceptible becoming rancid.

The fear of erucic acid was "validated" when dozens of people in Madrid died after unscrupulous street vendors sold industrial rapeseed oil as olive oil LINK.

It has since been determined that rats metabolize erucic acid differently than humans and that the toxic oil in Spain was due to chemicals added to the rapeseed oil to improve its lubrication properties.

The upshot is that mustard oil is now considered OK to use as long as it comes from a reputable source.


  1. ERJ, Living as we do in New Home in a urban area and a "Foodie" mecca, it is always interesting to me the waves of cuisine that roll in. Five to seven years ago it was fusion Korean food, then various sub-varieties of Indian food. I have no doubt the Nepali food will make its way here as well (which cool - I like lamb!).

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  3. Rapeseed is Canola here in the US. I am confused as to what this has to do with Mustard oil....

    1. Both common rapeseed oil and mustard oil are rich in erucic acld. Canola was selected from Polish and Argentinian rapeseed genetics to be less than 2% erucic acid. It is a super-low erucic acid form of rapeseed oil.

  4. Interesting crossovers occur when things get linked/unlinked... And oils are truly susceptible to going 'bad' depending on the environment. Which is odd, considering that the south/southwest 'fries' much of its food and always has.


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