They’re salty, they’re chewy and they’re always kind of…wet? But everyday, hundreds of billions of people consume olives on salads, pizzas and more. Personally, I love the things, but don’t quite understand why. The taste is quickly identifiable and always stands out separately from the other flavors it is mixed with. Just today I ordered a Mediterranean grilled cheese from Waffle Frolic, and while the sandwich was well-made, all I could think was yes more olives plz. Even dunked into spicy tomato soup, the flavor of the brined (vegetable? Fruit?) reigned supreme.
Yet some hate the things. Ever ordered a large pizza entirely covered with green olives for a party? I certainly wouldn’t suggest it. My guests’ faces looked like I had just dunked their cheese slices in the dead sea, even as I handed the wonderful stuff to them with a smile on my face.
But what are olives and why do we like them? Let’s take a look at salads. Onions have a natural flavor we all know and understand. Tomatoes, same deal. Even croutons are often a welcome addition. The adventurous at heart, like myself, have apple slices and maybe some fennel. But olives have no natural flavor worth eating. The taste, as far as I’m concerned, is created through soaking the spheroids in salt and vinegar until proper zing is reached, rendering its original flavor (bitter and acrid) MIA.
Perhaps this issue could have been called Green Olive, as well. After all, what other common food item is nearly as distorted from its original essence? And I couldn’t be happier for it.