Last night for dinner I made Pasta Puttanesca. This is a basic Italian dish with not-so-basic ingredients: garlic, capers, gaetta olives, and anchovies. Yum.
What? Not yum? You don’t like anchovies? No capers? Olives? Not even OLIVES!?!
OK, some people don’t like olives. Or, if they like olives, they only like California pitted olives, the kind you can stick on each finger and eat off, one by one.
Olives are one of my favorite foods, after watermelon and white rice and Greek strained yogurt. Oh, and coffee. But if you don’t like olives, I understand. I don’t like shrimp. The texture is like rubber.
According to this blog, the “top five food items people almost unanimously hate” are:
- Black Licorice
- Prune Juice
- Anything Banana Flavored Except Bananas
Olives didn’t make the list, although anchovies did. If you’re among the “almost unanimous” food haters, you can make Pasta Puttanesca without the hairy little fish. But don’t leave out the olives.
Apparently, a lot of people like olives. Just ask the marketing folks at Swank Martini. Some people even use olive brine to make martinis. Which is a little like the adult version of what my kids do, which is drink pickle juice.
What about you? Do you like olives? Green or black?
Do you sometimes wonder what to do with pit after you eat an olive? Have you ever dropped one in a potted plant while at a cocktail party? (If you answered “yes” to that question, chances are you’ve stuck a piece of ABC gum under a chair at least once in your life.)
Write about olives. What memories do the bitter little fruits evoke? At family gatherings, was there always a stick of salami, olives, pickled cauliflower, stinky blue cheese, and Saltine crackers? (If so, are you my cousin?)
Pungent foods, and especially those that are also basic and symbolic, often create pungent memories. So if you don’t have much to say about olives, write about some other sharp, zesty food that you’ve eaten through the years. Write about jalapeños. Or write about your least favorite food.
In any case, you know the rules. Fifteen minutes, keep the pen moving, don’t cross out, don’t stop to think. Everything I know about olives…. Everything.