On olives

Jaca negra, luna grande y aceitunas en mi alforja I seldom discuss my favorite food. People are rarely indifferent about whether they live olives or not. Some can only stand them marinated in gin, still others like them only in brine. I like them anyway I can get them: stuffed with pimentos, seed in, marinated in olive oil and paprika, with garlic, with onions, the possibilities are endless. They are a crucial part of any good salad. I love to eat them by themselves as if they were the meal. They also accompany any kind of meat or vegetable. I love them with pasta or rice, ground into a paste for a crostini. The only thing more complex than the wide variety of olives are the various and in-sundry ways to prepare all of those varieties. I never get bored trying a new kind of olive, crushed, green, ripe, whatever. Olives are the stuff of which life is made, delicate meat, creamy oil, bitter taste. There are always olives in the kitchen, in the refrigerator. Man has been growing olive trees for millennia because he has never found anything more useful or tasty. Once cured in brine, they have an almost indefinite shelf life, never losing their food value even in the hottest desert weather. In some ways the simple olive is the most complex of foods, never a main dish, but more than just a snack, neither fish nor fowl, it is a fruit that is not sweet, yet it displays a complex series of flavor profiles that are grounded in a basic bitterness that defines its identity.