Love olives in every dish!
By Alexandra Cuoco
“How I Met Your Mother” introduces us to the romantic humor behind one of my favorite foods, olives. Ted Mosby believes that the way that he knows Lily Aldrin and Marshall Erikson are truly soulmates is through the “Olive Theory”: the idea that one partner must love olives if the other one does not. Ted believes that this is a symbol of two halves of a whole person finding each other; Marshall always gives Lily his olives. Who knew this food could be so romantic?
One of the key ingredients and staples in my family kitchen all of my life has always been olives. Whether they are canned, fresh, kalamata, black, or green, olives are one of my go-to salty snacks that can be fun to experiment with and develop recipes. Making a charcuterie board? Add olives! They can add a pop of color, be stuffed, pair well with cheeses, and provide a salty bite that other snacks cannot! The history behind this delicious ingredient is that olive trees were originally first grown in Syria and Turkey. Over time, this food spread across the Mediterranean and the Middle East and was incorporated into multiple dishes that share similarities with other cultures. Olives are grown on trees all over the world, and olive oil is a staple in most households. The name “Olivia” originated from the Latin word “Oliva,” meaning “Olive.”
One of my favorite ways my mom has incorporated olives into her cooking is in honey feta dip. Get cream cheese, feta crumbles, minced garlic, dried basil, and olive oil, whip these ingredients together, top with honey, and get the perfect sweet and savory bite. Optionally, you can add crushed pistachios as a garnish, and serve with pitas.
A second way I love to use olives is in a homemade Mediterranean bowl, as Mediterranean-inspired dishes are my favorite type of cuisine to experiment with. A Mediterranean bowl is a great way to fill you up because of its clean ingredients and minimal work. Any protein works, I usually use marinated greek Chicken, but I also enjoy marinated salmon and tofu. Then, I choose a grain for the bowl; I prefer quinoa or couscous, but recently I have been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, so I have been using cauliflower rice. Prepare your grain of choice with flavors such as garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill to give the base a subtle Mediterranean taste. Finally, choose your favorite toppings. Mine include homemade tzatziki, cucumbers, feta, red pepper hummus, olives, and peppers. These bowls will fill you up and make you feel your best – like a homemade Cava bowl.
Countries all over the world use olives in sweet and savory dishes, as well as in oil. They are packed with antioxidants and can even be known to help inflammation. Even if you do not consider yourself an olive lover, try to find a creative way to incorporate olive into your dishes at home. Or who knows, maybe one day you will meet the person who gives you their olives.