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votes

Does Ralph's REALLY use olive oil on everything in their deli?

Commented on November 05, 2013
Created November 03, 2013 at 3:26 AM

A few times in a pinch we have stopped by the Ralph's deli in search of a healthy dinner or meal to go. When I asked what kind of oil the potato wedges were fried in, the guy behind the counter said in a snide tone with an accent "uhh... olive oil" but I seriously doubted him.

On a separate visit I asked another guy about dressings and stuff for the cold salad type goods and olive was the only oil that ever came up. I had a little more trust in this guy but I'm still pretty dubious.

Is there a way to get to the bottom of this? Is there some database that lists these things? Does anyone happen to work at Ralph's and know for a fact that they drench almost everything in the deli in heart-healthy olive oil? I'm dubious about this claim but I'd love to learn it was true.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 05, 2013
at 05:56 PM

Don't fret, it just means they're trying to get someone to validate their (poor) choices for them. It happens. They wouldn't ask if they deep down weren't unsure about it, but sadly confirming that it's not a good choice doesn't always allow them to let go.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 04, 2013
at 04:01 PM

Olive oil is not a good choice for frying, it's unstable at higher temperatures (this is independent of smoke point) and will oxidize. I reserve olive oil for cold applications and use coconut oil or animal fat for higher temperature cooking. see http://www.balancedbites.com/PDFs/BalancedBites_FatsAndOils.pdf

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:52 PM

Star's link:

http://shop.starfinefoods.com/Extra-Light-Olive-Oil/p/STAR-00015&[email protected]

At $15 a quart this is 10x the price of veg frying oil, but I usually get on sale for half of that.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:46 PM

If you want prepared food with attention to detail on ingredients you need to go to the Alice Waters level. But this is neither fast or inexpensive.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:36 PM

Cold pressed olive oil smokes way too easily to use in a deep fat fryer.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:33 PM

When in doubt avoid. Olive oil is expensive and is a poor performing choice for a deep fry oil. Think Frymax, Master Chef, Stable Flakes. You won't be lucky enough to get the manteca unless you eat at the roach coaches.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 03, 2013
at 09:29 PM

And thoughtful prep can result in multiple meals & very tasty leftovers :).

But if one only cooking for one.... it can mean lots of repetetion

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 03, 2013
at 09:27 PM

In many situations prepared food is all about "food cost"..... conflict of interest. :(

Medium avatar

(238)

on November 03, 2013
at 09:03 PM

After much practice you can create quality food in very short amounts of time.

Medium avatar

(238)

on November 03, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Not sure I'd agree with this, but don't know how soybean oil is extracted. Canola extraction can be pretty nasty with chemicals.

Medium avatar

(624)

on November 03, 2013
at 04:48 PM

Yeah on rare occasion I'll eat those little single-serving salad kits that come with like spinach, toppings (maybe egg, cheese, almonds, cranberries), and some canola-based dressing. Trouble is most of them use soy. Only a couple brands stick to canola and none I have seen use olive.

Paleo food is great. The single most significant challenge for me is just having to prepare EVERYTHING by hand. Almost nothing ready-made is acceptable and if so, just barely. I'm learning to be a better cook though.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 03, 2013
at 05:31 AM

It's surprisingly difficult to find a good olive oil (google 'olive oil fraud'.) I've been buying organic 100% italian cold-pressed from F&E, but, sometimes it just seems too refined. I feel like Kroger would surely use the sketchy stuff. I wonder how the Tropical Traditions olive oils are.

Sisson had a good article recently on making deli meats with maple syrup. I'm going to have to try it sometime.

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10 Answers

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 05, 2013
at 12:43 PM

Always chuckle when people ask for information and then choose to doubt it.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 05, 2013
at 05:56 PM

Don't fret, it just means they're trying to get someone to validate their (poor) choices for them. It happens. They wouldn't ask if they deep down weren't unsure about it, but sadly confirming that it's not a good choice doesn't always allow them to let go.

0
34a31e6e59ee73ac7ddfd96c3e653919

on November 05, 2013
at 06:54 AM

i buy duck fat for around that price...definetly some bettter options out there. Duck for potatoes, bacon for seafood, etc

0
34a31e6e59ee73ac7ddfd96c3e653919

on November 05, 2013
at 06:54 AM

i buy duck fat for around that price...definetly some bettter options out there. Duck for potatoes, bacon for seafood, etc

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:43 PM

I deep fry clams, oysters, hazelnuts and potatoes in el cheapo Star extra light olive oil. I picked it over extra virgin because I can fry hotter and faster without smoking, and too much time results in tough greasy clams. But my cheapo choice is still 5-10x more expensive than vegetable oil. A chain like Ralph's would not fill their fat fryer with an oil this expensive.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 04, 2013
at 04:01 PM

Olive oil is not a good choice for frying, it's unstable at higher temperatures (this is independent of smoke point) and will oxidize. I reserve olive oil for cold applications and use coconut oil or animal fat for higher temperature cooking. see http://www.balancedbites.com/PDFs/BalancedBites_FatsAndOils.pdf

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:52 PM

Star's link:

http://shop.starfinefoods.com/Extra-Light-Olive-Oil/p/STAR-00015&[email protected]

At $15 a quart this is 10x the price of veg frying oil, but I usually get on sale for half of that.

0
73405829e4cd62de86d52ef5c557dc42

on November 03, 2013
at 09:13 PM

pure extra virgin olive oil is much more expensive then veg/seed oils. I guarantee Ralph's is not using 100% olive oil cooking their food. Any time you are eating prepared food including any restaurant you have to assume they are using vegetable/canola oil or some blend in their cooking unless it's some place specifically goes out of their way to say they use only 100% olive oil or coconut oil or whatever in their cooking and food prep then they don't. And the fact is even so called healthy restaurants think they are being health conscious by using vegetable oil. If you are really concerned only eat food that you prepare. I just accept the facts that when I choose to eat food I didn't prepare from scratch that isn't not paleo or primal but I don't strive for 100% perfection in my diet. Convience wins sometinme but I try to still make the best choices I can when I do eat out

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 03, 2013
at 08:57 PM

Prepared food is always a crap shoot. There is company policy & there is actual operational execution. Plus is "olive oil" the olive oil you buy for yourself?

>>It would sure be nice to be able to get quality food I didn't cook myself<<<

Yeah it would, if it was easily achievable....

Medium avatar

(238)

on November 03, 2013
at 09:03 PM

After much practice you can create quality food in very short amounts of time.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:46 PM

If you want prepared food with attention to detail on ingredients you need to go to the Alice Waters level. But this is neither fast or inexpensive.

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 03, 2013
at 04:21 PM

At least canola oil is better than soybean oil.

Medium avatar

(624)

on November 03, 2013
at 04:48 PM

Yeah on rare occasion I'll eat those little single-serving salad kits that come with like spinach, toppings (maybe egg, cheese, almonds, cranberries), and some canola-based dressing. Trouble is most of them use soy. Only a couple brands stick to canola and none I have seen use olive.

Paleo food is great. The single most significant challenge for me is just having to prepare EVERYTHING by hand. Almost nothing ready-made is acceptable and if so, just barely. I'm learning to be a better cook though.

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on November 03, 2013
at 09:27 PM

In many situations prepared food is all about "food cost"..... conflict of interest. :(

Medium avatar

(238)

on November 03, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Not sure I'd agree with this, but don't know how soybean oil is extracted. Canola extraction can be pretty nasty with chemicals.

0
Medium avatar

on November 03, 2013
at 03:44 PM

Now you guys are making me call into question my unhindering acceptance of olive oil. I've always made a conscious effort to get quality EVOO but in a pinch I always figured any OO has healthy fats.

So, I guess I'll try calling Ralph's. It would sure be nice to be able to get quality food I didn't cook myself on occasion. Some nights are just too busy to make a good dinner.

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 03, 2013
at 06:44 AM

I asked the same thing about foods in their "Chinese" hot case, and then I insisted be shown the prep area, where I saw commercial-sized boxes of "Canola-fry." Same story at the hot case of Safeway, where I worked in the deli for a short while.

I didn't check the cold, prepared salads, but keep in mind that olive oil is the most adulterated foodstuff in the world. You have to do some sophisticated tests (think GC mass spec.) to suss out the contaminants and European nations devote some serious police manpower to build a case (which happens about twice a decade) against the criminal cartels that do this just to keep this activity in check.

There was a New Yorker (I think) article about this problem a few years ago (too lazy to look it up), and Consumer Reports did an exposé about allegedly "extra virgin" olive oils within the last two years (too lazy to look up references).

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on November 03, 2013
at 04:09 AM

Ralph's is owned by Kroger, didn't know that. They state this "We were one of the first retailers to move to 100% trans-fat free oil to provide you with a better choice for your chicken.", but nothing about olive oil. Keep in mind that there is Olive Oil and then again olive oil. 2nd or 3rd pressing, diluted with Canola or other oils, just because it says OO doesn't mean it is healthy.

We've got QFC & Fred Meyer which are both Kroger and honestly I'd not eat anything from those deli's. Last time I had chicken from them (2 years ago), it tasted like it had been cooked in a salt bath. Also had that mushy Phosphate injection to moisten it. Yuck.

Call or email the company for clarification. Find out what brand/type of OO they use.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 03, 2013
at 11:36 PM

Cold pressed olive oil smokes way too easily to use in a deep fat fryer.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 03, 2013
at 05:31 AM

It's surprisingly difficult to find a good olive oil (google 'olive oil fraud'.) I've been buying organic 100% italian cold-pressed from F&E, but, sometimes it just seems too refined. I feel like Kroger would surely use the sketchy stuff. I wonder how the Tropical Traditions olive oils are.

Sisson had a good article recently on making deli meats with maple syrup. I'm going to have to try it sometime.

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