I was born into one of those ethnic groups which hold sacred such things as olives. The value of this little fruit became more clear when I studied art in Italy. Olives don’t merely garnish cocktails or perk up a vegetable platter. The oil of olives isn’t used simply to sauté food and dress salads. Writer Marlena de Blasi best describes the ancient gift of the olive in her beautiful memoir, A Thousand Days in Tuscany. It takes great effort to squeeze the oil from an olive, but the lifeblood of each plays a major role in Mediterranean cultures from blessing a child at birth to anointing a body upon death. I find it quite beautiful that olives, though simple and slightly ugly, are an important piece of the history of many ancient societies.
In an olive grove