Eating London: An olive-haters conversion
Ever since I returned to the US of A from London in December, I found myself with a strange nostalgia. I not only missed my newfound friends and the hustle and bustle of London, but found myself craving the company of Sainsbury’s green pitted olives in sunflower oil. Sold in plastic ‘to-go’ cups, these little green jewels are anything but Italy’s finest olives — but they hold a special place in my heart.
I hated olives. As a kid, olive pizza was as dreaded as cough-syrup and when my olive-loving aunt would pop them like candy I found myself mildly nauseated. I would torture myself and try the little buggers once in a while, hoping for a change of heart but instead winding up with a mouthful of salty mush which I prompty deposited into a napkin.
Years passed and olives remained firmly in my ‘yuck’ list alongside cooked carrots and pickled onions.
Sainsbury’s changed all this. Feeling particularly masochistic, I purchased the Sainsbury’s small green pitted olives to-go, once again trying to make myself like my food arch-nemesis.
I peeled the lid back, and popped an olive in with trepidation. ‘Wait. I don’t like olives,’ I thought to myself as I reached back in for olive two. But these were addicting. There was none of that harsh salinity absorbed into a boiled tasting fruit, but a subtle saltiness, pleasant firm texture, and light sunflower oil that gave a slight nutiness.
Back in the U.S. I searched in vain for a cousin of the Sainbury’s to-go olives. Opened cans and jars still filled with olives lined my refrigerator shelf but none could come close. No wonder I never liked olives! I never had the goodness that is the cheap plastic cup of green olives sold at a UK supermarket.
I now find myself back in London for two short, glorious weeks. I plan to challenge TSA by buying multiple to-go cups of olives and dispersing them through my luggage, bringing the only olive I will ever love back home.