In today's Curious Cook column I write about what happens to the flavors of cooking oils when they're heated, and about the value of paying attention to oil flavor. It turns out that delicious and pricey extra-virgin olive oils lose much of their aroma in the pan. And stale, rancid oils are less healthful than fresh oils. I also mention the dismaying finding of researchers at the University of California at Davis that many American consumers prefer the flavors of defective olive oils to the flavors of high-quality oils--probably because they seldom get the chance to taste good oils!
Due to an editing error, the print edition of the column misstates the identity of the taste panel that tested the set of olive oils before and after cooking. It was the research panel of the University of California Cooperative Extension program, not a taste panel at U.C. Davis or its Olive Center. The web edition of the column has been corrected.