Pyrotechnic salad

I don't usually have a question that is appropriate to rec.food.cooking, rec.woodworking, rec.pyrotechnic and sci.med.nutrition. But I've been wondering about flaming salad.
I've been researching flax seed oil. It's great nutrition; it's very high in omega-3 unsaturated fats, which are the very good kind. But it's hard to work with; it oxidizes - goes rancid - very quickly. People in the know say that the fresh oil, and oil that has been well tended, tastes delicous. But that a lot of the flax seed oil you buy has gone rancid already.
Along the way I found out that flax seed oil == linseed oil. Wow, I said. They use that for drying paint and finishing furniture. When I lived in Atlanta, they were doing furniture-finishing at the the house next door to me. It burned down. The cause was linseed oil-soaked rags, improperly stored. See, this stuff oxidizes so fast it actually can ignite. Any rags that have linseed oil on them should be placed in an old paint can, with a metal lid tightly closed.
So I've been wondering - if I use flax seed oil as a healthy salad dressing, can I get it to burst into flames at the table? I realize that this may alter the taste some, and the nutrient balance. But it sure would an attention-grabber at the next church potluck. What nontoxic thing could I do to speed up the ignition and make it more certain?
David Throop
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David R. Throop wrote:

Usually "boiled" linseed oil is used for furniture finishing because it has transition metal compounds, like japan drier, added to catalyze the oxidation. Even so, it will not oxidize quickly enough in air to ignite a salad because the heat is not trapped (by the insulating rags). So perhaps you could add something like manganese heptoxide to act as an oxidizer *and* catalyst. I can't find anything about its acute toxicity.
Bob
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It's always the pile of oily rags that catches fire. So why not just make a pile of oily salad in the corner of your shop and see what happens?
--
John Snow
"If I knew what I was doing, I wouldn't be here"
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"David R. Throop" < snipped-for-privacy@cs.utexas.edu
[snip]

----------- BEWARE the "boiled" linseed oil you buy in the paint store contains drying agents not uncommonly cobalt napthlate. Cobalt compound are toxic!
Other than the overwhelming taste!! Food/medical grade oil would be ok. I believe there is a German pudding based on linseed oil!
--
donald j haarmann
-------------------------------
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On Thu, 07 Oct 2004 02:22:45 GMT, "donald j haarmann"

Boiled linseed oil uses cobalt (which is a lousy drier) because the alternatives are either lead, or a mixture or lead and manganese compounds. The cobalt is there for "safety" !
I can't imagine eating anything made from linseed oil. The stuff is horrible, even when freshly pressed. The seeds alone aren't too bad, but concentrated into the oil their taste is just overpowering.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Andy Dingley wrote:

That's why they sell it in capsules at the health food store.
I've used pure (unboiled) linseed oil to finish some oak carvings (actually the top rail of a chest with an Anglo-Saxon motto carved around it) and it worked well. It does take longer to dry, but hey, I live in Arizona!
--RC
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Truly "raw" linseed oil will never completely dry, because of the fats and fatty acids in it.
If you want true boiled linseed oil, cook your own. It involves heating the raw oil in a water bath (double boiler)for several hours, until all the fats agglomerate and float to the top. Then it's skimmed, like a greasy soup, and the clear, fat-free oil is decanted.
Commercial "boiled" oil has those drying additives primarily to force the fats to cure like varnishes. But oil with dryers in it never performs like real boiled oil when doing a French polish on top of shellac.
LLoyd
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On Fri, 08 Oct 2004 11:50:38 GMT, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"

This is something like the production of a London Dull Oil finish for gunsmithing. It's entirely different to the boiled-oil processes of traditional cabinetry. They're cooked at a higher temperature and they involve the addition of a metal salt; lead or manganese.

What on earth is a drying oil doing mixed in with French polish ?
--
Smert' spamionam

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Brain-finger-infarction. Not mixed in...
The French polish is done with the shellac, but it doesn't hold very well in the presence of moisture. A very, very thin rub-out with linseed oil and super-fine wool over the shellac doesn't detract at all from the appearance, but protects better. You have to wool it once more after drying to kill the gloss.
Done with chemically "boiled" oils, the coating never really dries. With the real stuff, it's totally dry and "micro-varnished" overnight.
LLoyd
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On Fri, 08 Oct 2004 18:42:59 GMT, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"

I don't hold with this whole idea of using linseed oil in French polishing at all. I use mineral oil, because I _know_ it's not going to cure and will come off easily once I've finished.

Interesting idea - can't say I've tried it.
I don't French polish much. Most of my stuff is shellac over oil (tung) because I don't want such a "formal" finish as a high-gloss French polish. I must give this a go, because I really can't imagine it working to deliver what I expect as French polish.
I'm working on a couple of cremation urns at the moment; sarcophagus "tea caddy" style, one in walnut, one in mahogany. I might give it a try.

I still don't agree that this is is "the real stuff". What's "chemically boiled" oil ? To my mind, the real stuff is hot-boiled with lead or manganese salts, and neutralised with limestone chips. This is still a process involving the addition of chemistry, but it's the classic recipes for cabinetry.
Do you have any references for low-temperature purely heat-polymeriseed oils ? I'm interested in collecting these.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Well, vitamin B12 is a cobalt compound (cobalamin). And what's worse, the most common supplemental form is a cyanide/cobalt compound, cyanocobalamin.
--Hua Kul
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Yup. It's very nutritious. Almost as rich in omega 3's as hempseed oil or salmon oil.
That said, I think you'd be hard pressed to get an edible auto-ignition. You might try fueling floating, oil-fueled candle at a dinner with said oil to make a point if you care to.
The company for which I work has done much research into these oils. We recommend salmon oil for nutritional purposes. We do not manufacture these oils, but only provide them to patients. There is on the horizon, vegetable oil made from genetically engineered plants that will have a more favorable omega-3 / omega-6 balance. These are probably a few years off, though. If you're not a strict vegetarian, fish oil is still your best bet. One decent brand is Tyler "Eskimo 3." Another that is usually good, but has had some reports of rancidness is Coromega. For vegetarians, hempseed and flax oil are decent (though not up to fish oil standards). Don't know about flax oil, but hemp seed oil tastes like crap. Too bad, since it is at present the best source of vegetarian omega 3 oil. One can get them encapsulated. Remember to put them in the fridge after opening to retard oxidation.

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Grin - one of the great things about usenet is you almost always find somebody who actually knows what he's talking about.

Great - I was expecting something like that but hadn't heard anything. I have been trying to find an oil that was high in mono-unsturated omega-3. Olive oil is great as far as it goes, but it's mostly Omega 6.
I'm not vegetarian and I eat lots of oily fish. Why swallow caps when I can have sardines for breakfast? I understand you can't cook with flax seed oil - its high degree of unsaturation causes it to degrade very quickly with heat. But I don't want to do caps - I'm looking for a salad dressing.

Does flax seed solidify at refrigerator temperatures the way olive oil does? Or does its unsaturation keep it running freely?
My sister bought me a device for keeping wine fresh - a hand-operated pump and a set of rubber stoppers through which you can pull a vacuum. It works well for wine; thought I'd try it for the oils too. Plus the refrigeration.
David Throop Followups set to sci.health.nutrition, where this seems to be heading.
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wrote:

Don't know about Flax oil, but we keep our Flax seeds in the fridge. Grind them up in the coffee grinder as needed, otherwise they do degrade rather quickly. Mostly they get used to make Bran/Flax muffins. These are actually very tasty and we make ours with Almond Flour and Sugar Twin, so they're low carb. The ground seeds also make an "edible" porridge substitute, which is very healthy. Also they make a good coating for oven fried chicken (if you can stand the smell), but the heat destroys the Omega 3 I believe.

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Sardines are usually packed in an acidic base inside a tin can. Leaching occurs. Also, fish oil will house less pollutants (and less beneficial components, true) than eating fish itself.
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W Klofkorn wrote:

I have heard (from obviously biased sources) that most fish oils still contain traces of mercury, etc. from the fish and that only super-refined, and expensive, brands are safe. Is this true or just someone trying to make an extra buck?
--RC (Who takes large doses every day for cholesterol control)
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Hard to make a call on this. Personally I use one oif the highly refined brands -- Eskimo 3. There is a rumor about that my company may be switching to another brand, but I don't think purity is the deciding factor. I doubt that for a man of middle age or later that heavy metal contamination would be much of an issue -- not nearly as much as risk of coronary disease from dyslipidemia. This would be an interesting project for someone with a heavy duty chromatogrphy set up and a big government grant: assay various oils being sold for purity, conformance to contents as stated on label, etc. Since these are natural products, by-products of commercial fisheries and so forth, there might well be great variation among different batches depending on ultimate source, season of year, processing, and so forth. Me, I take my chances on the metals on the bet that I might stave off that coronary a while longer.

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On 6 Oct 2004 20:15:07 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@cs.utexas.edu (David R. Throop) wrote:

heh. have you ever SEEN linseed oil autocombust?
thick clouds of greasy smelly black smoke....
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snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote in message (David R. Throop)

AMEN to that, you are talking about a grease fire. Horrible smell and a lot of smoke. You would clear the room and no one would have any desire to eat anywhere near that area.
You would be better off to make a decorative folded paper border or centerpiece for you salad. AND if that paper happened to be flash paper and there happened to be a igniter under the bowl that would certainly get peoples attention, without killing the flavor. CHECK OUT ALL SAFETY CONCERNS PRIOR TO ATTEMPTING ANYTHING, IN FACT IF YOU ARE SANE YOU WILL PROABLE JUST FORGET THE ENTIRE IDEA. And if your not all that terrible sane, good luck.
Ghostwriter
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On 6 Oct 2004 20:15:07 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@cs.utexas.edu (David R. Throop) wrote:

ROFL!!! Thanks, you made my night!
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