October 4, 2011
I have been told that once you eat five or six olives, you become addicted. That is true. I used to avoid eating olives. I’m not sure why, but I automatically said, “I don’t like olives,” whenever I was offered any.
I would pick them out of my Greek Salad. And, if you know what Greek Salad is made out of, you know that black olives are one of the main ingredients. There are usually a lot of sliced, black olives in a Greek Salad.
I would pick them off my pizza. I would move them to the side of my plate if I found them in any food I was eating. I did this even as an adult. “I don’t care for olives,” was my explanation, when I was in polite circles. “Ugg, I hate olives,” when I was amongst family and close friends.
I can’t remember ever eating olives or how I came to dislike them. I don’t have any childhood memories of traumatic episodes with olives. I honestly don’t think I ever actually tasted one.
A few years ago, I did start eating the olives that were on my pizza. After all, there were so few of them that it seemed pointless to pick them off. Besides, that just prevented me from diving into my delicious pizza. Usually, the flavour of the pizza would more than cover up any olive taste anyway.
Then one Christmas I started eating olives. I had to. They would have gone bad in my fridge. And I dislike wasting food more than I dislike the idea of eating olives. I had arranged a celebration for an English as a second language (ESL) program I coordinated. It was a graduation party and I purchased an array of delicious food from the delicatessen at the local grocery store. One dish was a variety of olives and antipasto. I thought these would help to add elegance to the affair. Needless to say, nobody ate any of the olives. So I took them home.
For a couple of days they sat in my fridge, taking up space. Every time I opened my fridge, I would see them in their container, all lined up in neat rows. They started to look appetizing. Finally, I resolved that I would eat them. I decided to eat one group of olives each day until they were gone.
So, I took out the green olives stuffed with garlic cloves. I ate one at a time throughout the day. With the first few olives, I grimaced. They actually didn’t taste that bad. I think my grimacing was simply an automatic response to the idea of eating olives. I convinced myself that olives were healthy and continued eating. By the time I got through half the pile, I was enjoying the taste. The time between each olive was becoming shorter. I was starting to smack my lips and lick my fingers.
The next day I took out the next group of olives, the green ones stuffed with pimentos. It did not take me very long before I started eating them. I definitely preferred the olives stuffed with garlic cloves from the day before. But the pimento-stuffed olives were also tasty. Before long, I had finished the pile and started on the next batch.
Finally, I was down to the last group on the tray. I thought they were red peppers stuffed with some type of cheese. Since I knew I would enjoy the red peppers, I had anticipated eating them since the day before. I was looking forward to seeing how the cheese stuffing would blend with the red pepper taste.
I picked up the first red pepper and popped it into my mouth. It didn’t take long before I was coughing and sputtering. My eyes started watering and my mouth started burning. That was my initiation into feta-stuffed jalapenos. Jalapenos were another food that I had avoided eating. Even though I like spicy food, I always considered jalapenos to be too hot for my taste.
After I got through the first jalapeno, alive, I looked at the rest of the pile dubiously. I had to eat them. I knew I just could not throw them away. I gave myself some time to recuperate, then took another jalapeno. This time, I was prepared for the heat so I was able to eat it without a lot of fanfare. By the time I had finished the pile of jalapenos, I was quite enjoying them. And I was able to eat them without coughing and sputtering.
Now, I buy feta-stuffed jalapenos and garlic-stuffed green olives on a regular basis. I purchase them from the olive bar at the delicatessens. Nobody in my house eats them but me. I buy a medium container of each, filled to the brim. It doesn’t take me long before I finish off the container. I usually have to restrain myself to make them last more than a day. I don’t think it would be wise to eat that much in just one day, so I do ration myself.
Speaking of which, I think I’ll go have some right now. Mmmmm……