Raise your hand if you hate this term as much as I do. The coinage comes from a television personality who said that extra virgin just means it's unfiltered. Which isn't even remotely close to being accurate. And then of course she has her own label. Hey what happened to her cutlery line with fancy orange handles?

  • Posted by: pierino
  • April 12, 2012


Ophelia April 23, 2012
Some part of my head always felt like "EVOO" was kind of a funky way to get around having to say the word "virgin" which might make people think of teh sex.
I always kinda wished that the fridge on 30 minute meals or whatever that show was called looked like mine... filled with random condiments and stacked to the gills with leftovers.
ChefOno April 23, 2012

Well said. I know you addressed that to Pierino but here's my take for what it's worth: It's all good. We all got to vent a little frustration, whether it be with EVOO and giggly cooks or with people who get frustrated by EVOO and giggly cooks. In the process, the thread touched on some more serious issues, like if EVOO is really the best choice for every application, not to mention giving you the opportunity to point out the benefits of RR's approach to cooking. Judging from the answer voted as best, maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think the beauty of this site (aside from the incredible depth of knowledge and willingness to help others) is that all aspects of food are up for discussion.

healthierkitchen April 23, 2012
Pierino - I have waited to write, and have long puzzled over the hating on RR on this site. Yes, her giggle and the EVOO can be annoying, but she provides a service for many people who find cooking intimidating. She never claims to be a trained chef, but from my limited knowledge of her background, she has paid her dues in other ways than on the line in a fine restaurant. Many of us here are experienced home cooks and some are trained chefs (not me) but out in the regular world, there are many, like many of my family members, who look at cooking only as a daily challenge to feed their families in a limited amount of time and with a limited amount of money. While I might get really excited about ramp pesto, most people I know have never heard of ramps. They find anything beyond basics intimidating and time consuming. I think they are the norm in this country of fast food eaters. Most people have no knife skills and have not had the opportunity to cook in Italy, France, etc. So why be divisive when what she does is bring basic skills to regular people who really need them. My feeling is that if using "stock in a box", another RR too-cutism, makes someone cook dinner at home one more night a week, then isn't that a good thing? Sometimes baby steps can be the pathway for people to find they do like cooking and that they are better at it than they think. She makes cooking seem unintimidating - maybe in part because she is cutesy - i.e. "if she can do this so can I" kind of thinking. And if she's too cute with her EVOO, at least she's promoting use of a healthy oil in her recipes. Quite honestly, I am startled and feel almost personally on the line every time this type of thread comes up because I see myself as a home cook, not much different than she, albeit without her platform, fortune and annoying giggle. It is her platform I envy, though, because she is able to make a difference in the lives of people who really need the information she is able to disperse so widely. I try all the time just to get my friends and families to see that cooking at home is a huge step towards eating more healthfully.
ChefJune April 23, 2012
Speaking of RR teaching her audience techniques.... In her beginning on TV, when she was being video trained, her trainer had to show her how to properly hold a knife. She didn't know....
ChefOno April 14, 2012

To address susan g and sstiavetti's questions about sautéing in olive oil:

Smoke = Bad The products of partially burned fat are carcinogenic. Smoke is also an indication the oil is breaking down, leaving behind free radicals (not to mention a wretched polymerized mess everywhere).

Unrefined oils smoke at relatively low temperatures. The smoke point of less expensive extra virgin olive oils can be lower than 320F, well below optimum frying temperature. The best can get you above 400F but since rapid oxidation of nutrients found in extra virgin olive oil occurs above the 300°F mark, you lose the benefits of the expensive oil.

Personally, I fry in peanut and flavor with olive oil (where appropriate).
ChefOno April 14, 2012

Clever title. Apparently the book is a continuation of this article:

LarderandLibary April 14, 2012
Not worried too much about orange handles, but, for an eye-opening discussion of the topic, try Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller.
Pegeen April 14, 2012
When doing a live TV show that has contractually agreed with advertisers to give them a specific number of minutes & seconds, and which must demonstrate 3 recipes in about 21 minutes to non-professional cooks, using an acronym like "EVOO" instead of pronouncing every word saves very precious seconds. While it may be annoying, this easy acronym also serves the purpose of reminding non-experienced or new cooks that there are indeed varieties of olive oil and the one you use may make a difference. Anyway, as Mrslarkin mentions, someone's watching an awful lot of Rachel Ray and "EVOO" ain't bothering them! ;-)
Greenstuff April 14, 2012
Exactly why I was surprised she spelled it out E-V-O-O. Didn't save a whit of time and added confusion to those who aren't in on the acronym.
pierino April 14, 2012
Pegeen, to your point (and that brings us back to the original question) it's been a long time since I've seen an episode of 30 Minute Meals but RR would habitually say, "add some EVOO. That means extra virgin olive oil". Over and over. Isn't that the Department of Redundancy Department? Hardly shortening the taping time. The fact that she clearly didn't know what extra virgin olive oil actually means didn't seem to matter to the producers.
mrslarkin April 14, 2012
As a business woman, I love what Rachel Ray inspires others to do...do what you love and get paid to do it. Do I watch her show or buy her magazine or her books or her knives or use the EVOO acronym? No.

That "celebrity food nitwit", as you've tagged her, is making a shit ton of money. More power to the businesswomen in the world.
pierino April 14, 2012
mrslarkin, I take your point and as always I respect your thoughtful opinion. When I first asked the question I didn't mention RR by name but of course everyone knew who I was referring to. I have a lot of women friends in the food and restaurant world, hard working chefs, owners and chef/owners. Only a couple make a ton of money. But they really cook. Now as a cultural example, the great Lucille Ball, a very intelligent woman, made a ton of money portraying airheads. RR gets a ton of money for actually being one. Now does anyone want to hold up Snookie as a role model for young American women? That's kind of where we are these days.
hardlikearmour April 14, 2012
I agree it's ridiculous to verbalize it - does saying the letters really save time or effort from saying the words? It is useful when written, as it's an obvious shortcut on a grocery list or in a recipe.
Greenstuff April 14, 2012
I don't have cable, so I didn't know where that odd term originated until pierino told me. Then I watched a Rachael Ray YouTube and was surprised to learn that she not only used it orally, but pronounced it using the letters, E.V.O.O. I'd guessed it would rhyme with emu. But I'd vote hands up--I hate unnecessary acronyms.
ChefOno April 14, 2012

Do you use "EVOO" in conversation or just in writing?
amysarah April 14, 2012
I agree RR's cooking expertise can be questionable and her lingo annoying (though I stop short of seeing her as a scourge of humanity.) But I also find irritating TV personalities easy to avoid - I simply don't watch their shows.

Regardless, I hate to see a discussion here devolve into a litany of targets for ridicule or contempt. Fish in a barrel. Tedious, unnecessary, and most of all, counter to the spirit of this place.

(Not to mention that since many here use 'EVOO' in their comments/recipes, the ridicule extends - hopefully unintentionally - to our own ranks, which is more offensive than any dopey acronym.) JMHO on EVOO.
sexyLAMBCHOPx April 14, 2012
My hand is down. RR is not evil and destrustive to food lovers at all levels. Bigger fish to fry. There are sites that RR haters, so have fun there!
ChefOno April 14, 2012

You're right, it's not the abbreviation itself; there's something about the way Rachael says it, like the stuff's magic or something.

Hey, pierino, is it just RR or does "Bam!" drive you nuts too?
LLStone April 13, 2012
I view EVOO the same way I view BYOB, the BMV, TTYL, or any other well-recognized acronym. And, while RR may be chatty and some may consider her a cliche, she is what I would consider a gate-way mentor. I'm sure many people start with her stuff, realize the limitations, and move on to bigger and better mentors. And at least she gets folks cooking, if only for 30-minute meals or cooking on the weekends for the rest of the week. I guess I say all that to say that EVOO doesn't bother me at all.
sstiavetti April 13, 2012
From what I've learned over the years, it's more of a waste to use the more expensive extra-virgin variety since you're heating it up to the point that you lose the subtlety of its flavor. Like, why use a $400 cabernet as your cooking wine? Would love to hear other thoughts on this.
susan G. April 13, 2012
Only seen her show once, maybe. I don't volunteer for fingernails on the blackboard.
But you remind me of a question that keeps coming up for me --
I see a good number of recipes calling for extra virgin olive oil for sautes. I thought it was best used uncooked, dipping, garnishing, dressing. Input??
Lynnht April 13, 2012
Hand raised
ChefOno April 13, 2012

I'm beginning to suspect pierino has a little crush on Rachel Ray, that's what I think.

The term grates at me too, a distant contender, however, to "foodie". Gag me.
pierino April 13, 2012
ChefOno I'm down with you on "foodie" as well. The term is actually about 30 years old and appeared around the same time as "yuppie" which I also hate. But no "crush" on RR. The fact that she vocalizes her airhead internal monologue non-stop is rather scary. In the early years of her show I seriously thought she might amputate one of her sausage like digits with her santoku whilst yammering away.
hardlikearmour April 13, 2012
I've often suspected that myself! It's definitely a case of "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." :-P
Brain H. April 22, 2012
Ouch. I'll try not to take that one personally.

For a different perspective on RR (whom I have never seen on TV because I don't have cable) you all should check out Kim Severson's book "Spoon Fed". I don't think she liked RR either...until she met her.
ChefOno April 23, 2012

Nothing personal I assure you. I haven't read the book but I did happen on a documentary about her some years ago. My take was maybe similar, that what we see is perhaps a made-for-TV personality.
ChefJune April 23, 2012
I'll see you EVOO and "foodie" and raise you "home chef!" There's no shame -- and a great deal of pride, actually -- to being a great home cook. "Home chef" is an oxymoron that doesn't exist.
sstiavetti April 13, 2012
The use of the term "EVOO" bothers me because it seems like such a flippant way to refer to a beautiful ingredient. As a lover of both the culinary and literary arts, it makes me feel a little wistful to hear it. Much like when my young nieces says LOL out loud.

Voted the Best Reply!

davidpdx April 13, 2012
Who cares? Life is too short, and there are many more food-related topics to enjoy/discuss/contemplate/worry about/help people with. I thought the beauty of this site was that it focused on food, not on castigating people, especially over such inconsequential issues.
SKK April 13, 2012
pierino - I admire you, your recipes, your point of view and and questions.

Not clear on this question. Don't know the television personality you are referring to. Do know friends bring me olive oil from Italy and gift me with that and it gives me a sense of the joy of olive oil.

Totally lost on the orange handles.

Please share what you see and are looking at. Need the education before the vote.
pierino April 13, 2012
SKK, first of all thank you. It refers to Rachael Ray's use of the term "EVOO" as shorthand for extra virgin olive oil. It's like the proverbial fingernails on the blackboard to me. The "orange handles" refer to her short lived sponsored line of cutlery; Furi knives made in Australia. Austraila's cutlery tradition of course goes back to the boomerang. Sur La Table dropped the line because the handles kept coming off. Today you can probably buy remaining stock by the pound at dollar stores.
sstiavetti April 13, 2012
Another hand raised.
sdebrango April 12, 2012
Hand is raised.
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