Lisa and Olives: Round Three

I would now like to take the opportunity to reply to Lisa G’s devastating round two victory in the Great Olive Campaign. I have spent these past few days training with an olive coach who has worked me back into shape, throwing kalamata olives at my head and squirting me with olive oil between practice bouts.

And so now, weighing approximately 3000 olives, comes The Amateur Gourmet for Round Three.

Ding Ding Ding!

(Went the trolley…ring ring ring went the bell…shit, I’ve been foiled by the great Judy Garland psyche out. Snap out of it AG!)

Phew.

Ok, Lisa, here is how you are wrong point by point, olive by olive:

– “I don’t hate olives for the sake of hating olives.” That’s like saying you don’t hate black people for the sake of hating black people. In other words, Lisa G., you are an olive racist. That is particularly inappropriate considering Monday was MLK Day. Do you think MLK hated olives? But seriously, you seem to suggest that your olive-hating is meritorious; that it is a noble pursuit, like Courtney Love hating. Clearly though, despite the 40,000 who “hate olives” on Google, there are plenty of olive lovers in this world. There must be something to it, no?

– “Face it Adam–they are legitimately disgusting….they taste like old socks.” This point is fair but can be likened to both coffee and cheese. With coffee, the taste is bitter at first and requires a cognitive leap from gross to daily ritual. Similarly, many cheeses are off-putting and I will acknowledge my own cheese-phobia, particularly my bleu cheese phobia, and concede that the terms “legitimately disgusting” and “old socks” often come to mind when encountered with a giant chunk of bleau cheese. Yet, the difference is, that I admit that this cheese-phobia is my problem, not a problem with cheese. I know deep in my heart that I am missing out and that slowly edging my way towards cheese acceptance will broaden my palate, increase my tolerance and expose me to many happy meals that I would have otherwise rejected.

– “They aren’t even good for you.¬† Eat too many and you’re sure to grow yourself a spare tire.” Yes, olives are fatty and in large quantities bad for you, but you can say that about many things that are naturally occurring and wonderful–peanuts, for example–and yet would you give up peanuts? What about Peanuts? Charles Schultz is dead, Lisa.

– “Why is it that you encourage their¬†invasion of my salads and pastas and martinis?” Once you have achieved acceptance of the olive–olive Nirvana, perhaps–you will see that their “invasion” is more like a “sacred presence” in salads, pastas, and martinis. Olive lovers grope for olives wherever they see them: plucking them out of other people’s drinks, stacking them on their fingers, and slurping them off like an anteater at an ant farm. Once you hit that point of olive awareness, you will suddenly realize that there’s this whole new element of flavor to enjoy in your daily meal ingestion. I think the nut analogy works well: sure a brownie without nuts tastes fine, but there’s something to be said for the extra component that nuts add to brownies. It’s like a different thing all together and that’s what you’re missing when you heartlessly reject olives.

– “[You] trained yourself to enjoy [olives] so you could be part of the cool (freak) crowd.” I gladly concede this point. I used to be an extreme olive hater; attending olive-hating rallies, participating in olive bashings and gluing a “No Olives” bumper sticker to my car. Then I read this quote in Jeffrey Steingarten’s “The Man Who Ate Everything”: “By design and by destiny, humans are omnivores. Our teeth and digestive systems are all-purpose and ready for anything. Our genes do not dictate what foods we should find tasty or repulsive.” I threw the book across the room, shouted “Eureka!” and ran to my local olive dealer where, after several intense hours, I developed a passion for the olive. It is one of the greatest things I ever did because I began to notice and enjoy olives everywhere. Olive tapenade! Olive paste! Olive deodorant! It was a whole new world.

In conclusion, your olive hatred is self-defeating, sort of like cutting off your nose to spite your face. There are many enjoyable things in life that one must work towards in order to appreciate them: James Joyce, David Lynch, Kelly Rippa. Clearly, your anti-olive campaign is a cop out, and the biggest loser will be yourself. Take this round, for example. Did you lose it? I think so. Who’s the winner? Yours truly, olive eater.

Ding ding ding, went the trolley!!!!

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