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"EVOO" -- Not a Rachael Ray Invention?
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | posted by Mike

Rachael RayUh oh. If you thought the Rosie O'Donnell/Donald Trump feud was the war to end all wars, watch out for the simmering battle between Rachael Ray and the folks at Pompeian Oil.

So, what's the big deal? Apparently, Pompeian is taking issue with the fact that "EVOO," which was recently added to the dictionary, is being cited as a Rachael Ray invention. They helpfully point out that there are plenty of olive oil-related acronyms out there and that they may have more of a claim to them than some Janie-Come-Lately food celebrity.

Bill Monroe, the CEO of Pompeian, a 100-year-old olive oil company, is known throughout the olive oil industry as the "King of All Olive Oil" or "KAOO." His renown is because Monroe made extra virgin olive oil a household word two decades ago when he introduced Bertolli olive oil to the nation and then revolutionized the industry with its line extensions: "POO" (pure olive oil) and "ELOO" (extra light olive oil). Monroe did all this and founded and chaired the NAOOA (North American Olive Oil Association).

Not enough for you?

"EVOO was coined a long time ago, maybe as early as 1916 according to one contributor to the American Dialect Society," stated Monroe. "In fact, Google has over 130,000 references to EVOO that don't refer to Rachael Ray. There's even an EVOO restaurant that opened in Massachusetts in 1998. And there are numerous scientific papers such as the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society article from May 2003, which examined 'the effects of two monounsaturated fatty acid-rich oils, extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and high-oleic sunflower oil (HOSO), on platelet aggregation' in women."

Fascinating stuff, really.

Fortunately, you're reading this on the website of an expert! I studied Communication in college and actually took a class called "Semantics," in which we studied why we use the words that we do. So, I can say with full authority that this is a deeply, deeply stupid and pointless argument.

First of all, I don't know that Rachael has ever claimed to have invented "EVOO." Secondly, this whole thing is being stirred up not in a news article but in a press release issued by Pompeian, which officially makes this a manufactured controversy.

Of course, that press release got this knucklehead to devote 445 words to the topic, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Seriously, the nice thing is that we're having a such a public discussion about olive oil, an ingredient that was relegated to "ethnic" cuisines not that long ago. Say what you want about Rachael (and I know you will), but she's getting people in the kitchen and has them thinking about ingredients like EVOO.



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