Regular commentator Hans writes in to ask:
So what’s this about food not browning well in really-fresh oil?
I’m glad you asked that, Hans! For indeed people who really know frying will tell you that perfectly clear, fresh oil doesn’t cook food particularly well. That’s very true. The question is: why? The answer, again, is because oil and water don’t mix. Fry oil with no soaps in it is held so far at bay by outrushing a steam that it never comes into contact with the food. That doesn’t mean that the food doesn’t get heated all the way through, but it does mean that it doesn’t get brown and crispy (or at least not very). The solution: add a little soap (and by that I mean old cooking oil) to the pan. It doesn’t take much, just a couple of teaspoons to two or three quarts of oil, to do the job.