On the public radio show The World last Friday, there was a story about a lawsuit over a recipe published in a Chilean newspaper. The recipe included erroneous instructions for making churros, a fried pastry popular in Spain and Latin America, among other places. (As an aside, I have a recollection of one of my early Spanish textbooks being called Churros y Chocolate--that's how ubiquitous these snacks are).
Among the errors was an instruction to heat the oil to 482 degrees Fahrenheit, which is past the flash point. Several readers who made the recipe had the oil explode out of the pan when the churros were added, suffering burns on their arms, faces and chests.
In this season of deep-fried Hannukah foods, it is good to remember that oil should never be hotter than 375 degrees and you should use oils with high smoke points. On the rare occasions that I deep-fry anything, I use peanut or canola oil and keep the temperature around 350, which I monitor with a heavy-duty kitchen thermometer. Also, you should use a very deep saucepan such as this one, which holds six quarts. I use a scant inch of oil and am paranoid about not overcrowding the pot.