April 13, 2009

Kitchen Confessional #1: The Olive of Dissonance

I often wonder if my taste buds would ever join the rest of the world and embrace the so-called mysteriously delicious flavor of the olive. I can’t deny that it’s a staple in many a cuisine. In fact, I cook with olive oil for most of my dishes at home. It’s just the actual fruit that I cannot come to appreciate. There’s something about a food that resembles the abdomen of a black widow (minus the crunch) that just doesn’t scream out, “Enjoy me on your next salad!” Not to mention their metallic taste and rubbery texture.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried olives many times. However, my pursuit to fit in and understand this ancient fruit often ends in failure. Picture a nightclub:

Once said olive enters the primary gates to my stomach and gets past the incisor guards, initial contact with my tongue occurs, and the now-mashed olive patiently waits in my body’s foyer for approval. Noticing the olives horrible style and taste, this is typically followed by a rejection to enter my stomach, coincidentally called “The Gastro Club,” where most fruit and veggies are allowed admission. More often than not, the unwelcomed guest is 86’d, and a clean linen napkin is ruined. The olive is then banished for 6 months until I’m brave enough to try to like them again.

Though, it’s not just the flavor that confuses me, but also the obsession. I have memories from the restaurants I’ve worked and the bars that I frequent, of seeing fully grown women eating these stuffed edible spheres with relentless passion, dribbling olive juice along their jaw lines, and washing it down with an extra dirty martini, with 3-4 extra olives. If I’m not mistaken, this is an olive addiction, where two olives no longer yield the desired gratification.

The mania starts young, too. It seems that every family BBQ I attend, there are at least a thousand kids putting black olives on the tips of their little olive-loving fingers – and barbarically eating them right off. This behavior carries on into adulthood, which then turns into said addiction.

However, women and children are not the only ones affected. Men also make up this strange olive obsession. Working in a pizza place during my youth, I’ve seen men demand the black rings on their pies.

TRUE STORY: A man once came into the Me-n-Ed’s Pizzaria where I worked as a teen and brought in a pizza that he had ordered from the night before. Noticing the discontent expression on his face, I had asked him if there was a problem.

“Yeah!” he said, and insisted that there were not enough olives on his family size combination. I looked in the box (more than half the pizza missing) and counted several dark loops and deemed it necessary to point this out to the angry man.

“Are you stupid or something?! There are no olives!” He refuted.

I replied, “Hey, take it easy. How about I make you another one?”

“Keep your pizza you punk kid! I know the owners of this place! And I will RUIN you!” He boldly stated as he stormed out.

My thought? Olives ruined this man’s life.

So I confess, yes I am an olive-phobe. I may not enjoy them like the rest of you, but I think O-live.

A bit of humor:

Upon researching this subject, I learned I wasn’t alone. http://antiolive.blogspot.com is a blogger who shares my disdain to an extreme.(Art from antiolive.blogspot.com)


Anonymous said...

Well written, however confused. The olive can and should be incorporated into every meal.
Michael Miller

the twins said...

hello! i just found your blog and this post made me laugh. olives are one of the few foods i can't stand either...always have to pick them out of sandwiches and pizza. i do, however, like olive oil and tapenade.

Cresencio Alexander said...

I couldn't agree with you more Twins. It's nice to see that their are others who share my feelings about the olive as a fruit, but enjoy the oil. It's like a strange food paradox.