The humble olive; people either love it or detest it. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
I can’t remember who first shared this secret for learning to love the olive with me. My memory blurringly suggests it was someone in a trendy bar on Deansgate in Manchester as we contemplated a complimentary bowl of olives on the bar counter.
But then again I might have been sharing the tip with my fellow contemplatee. Whatever…it matters not that its source is lost in the hazy mists of time. What matters is that it’s a sure-fire recipe for turning people who greet the sight of a bowl of olives with a gurning ‘eeeuch’ into someone who has learned to love the olive and who will never again come across as a culinary bumpkin when a plate of olives is placed in front of them in a quaint tapas bar in Barcelona or Madrid or in a vine covered taverna on a dreamy Greek Island…or even a trendy bar in Manchester.
The Five Steps for Learning to Love the Olive
All you need for this is an olive-hater, a bowl of olives (green preferably) and a crowd of onlookers who will be suitably amazed when this experiment is proven to work.
Important Note: Ideally the olives should be pitted; if nervous first-timers have to deal with a stone it could put the whole affair in jeopardy. It is also important to eat the olives one at a time. There are no short cuts: popping them all into your mouth at the one time is a no-no.
Step 1: This is the mountain to climb, that first disgusting tasting olive. The only way to approach it is to bite the bullet or, in this case, the olive. There could be retching and funny faces during step one and those without cojones may fall at this first hurdle.
Step 2: You won’t want to get back on that bike, but it’s vitally important that you do…quickly. Whilst still reeling from the metallic taste of that first olive, pop a second one in your mouth. I’m not going to lie to you here, this is going to be like a re-run of step one. But the lingering flavour of that first olive will make it seem less severe.
Step 3: This is it, the summit of that steep culinary hill. The end of a dark and unpleasant tunnel lies ahead. Time to pop olive number three into your mouth. By this point, steps one and two will have left your taste-buds feeling abused and vulnerable, they’re hardly going to register olive number three.
Step 4: You’re over the top, the taste buds are regrouping and having a think about what has just occurred. They come to the conclusion that olives aren’t the Antichrist of the food world, in fact they aren’t as evil tasting as you thought…in fact, they’re not bad at all.
Step 5: As you pop number 5 in your mouth, your hand will instinctively reach out for number 6…7…8… and so on. Congratulations your culinary world has just changed – you have learned to love the olive.
Disclaimer: Although these are almost guaranteed steps to learning to love the olive, I take no responsibility whatsoever if it all goes horribly wrong and you end up mosaic-ing the floor with the contents of your stomach.