I read an article about a woman who, during WWII and rationing, was instructed by her Mother to learn to grow her own food. She was three at the time and living in Manchester, England. Her Mom’s reasons were clear – you never know when or if food will be available.
Now, the former three year old with the sensible Mom, is in her sixties and lives in Dallas, Texas. She not only grows an array of fruits and vegetables but makes her own flavored olive oils to use in her dishes. She also makes gifts out of those oils flavored with her home-grown herbs and spices.
I thought about my own parents and their childhood food stories and struggles. My Dad was raised in Savannah during the Depression. Food was expensive and scarce. Flour, fat, and scrap meat had to go a long way. My Mom’s parents were the children of immigrants, Irish and French, and they made sure they purchased small amounts of quality foods. Each meal and each item on the table was respected and savored. It was my Mother’s parents who gave me my first olives. Holiday meals weren’t complete without small bowls of black and green olives. “Save some for everyone else, Mary Ellen,” I can still hear my grandmother say.
It is this “food respect” background that makes me take very seriously my work of keeping folks informed all about olives and olive oil. We never know when crops will be plentiful or fail, when pests and disease will appear, or when a new variety of olive will show up in your grocery to be taken home and shared with family and friends. I want to make sure that no matter what country, region, state, or province you live in you will have access to the oldest, cultivated, human-digestible fat; that your access is not impeded by criminals who seek to sell you “fake” olive oil; that food safety measures are followed; and that you can enjoy bounty when it’s here and be informed when things are amiss.
May the sun shine through your branches.