Learning to love olives


When I was young, I HATED olives. I thought they were foul, and worked to pick them out of whatever food into which they had been incorporated, if I wasn’t compelled to eat them out of politeness.

This made me an outlier in my family, as my sisters loved olives, and would gleefully run through the house, ten large, ripe black olives stuck on each of their fingers, popping them into their mouth whenever they wanted a snack. I didn’t have to remove too many olives out of the dinnertime salad, as many of them had been plucked off the top and and enjoyed far before the family arrived at the table.

Now, many of these olives were the canned variety, salty and black, but without the distinctive character I have come to associate olives with today. Occasionally I was exposed to a Kalamata olive, or something a bit more distinctive, but I assumed that since I hated the canned olives, there was no point in trying all the others.

I decided to try olives again in 2011, just prior to an extended trip to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Luckily, I realized that olives are delicious, because I was served fantastic olives throughout my trip, whether served with bread and wine in Spain, or cooked with preserved lemon and chicken into an incredible tagine in Morocco. I still don’t love the canned black olives (and will talk about that in another post), but I have learned to embrace the rest of the wide world of olives, in all their delicious variety. Hopefully one of these posts will encourage you to try a new variety or preparation of olive and expand your olive universe.

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