About 15 years ago, I was traveling on business with another, more senior lawyer from our firm. We decided to have a cocktail before dinner and were examining the menu for something light to eat while we sipped our drinks. After carefully scrutinizing the menu, she suggested we try the olives option. I responded that I had never eaten an olive before, but if she wanted to get some I’d try one. I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t like them.
She expressed astonishment, and then chuckled. “You’ve never tried olives?” she said. “Well, you’re in for a treat.”
She was right, of course, We got the dish of olives, and they were terrific. A bit salty, but with a meaty texture, and a nice snap when you bit into one. The olives weren’t pitted, so we also experienced the adventure of precisely nibbling around the pit and then delicately disposing of it in a way that approximated good table manners. In short, the olives not only tasted good, they were kind of fun to eat. By the end of that one cocktail hour, I was firmly and permanently hooked.
Since then, olives have become a staple of my dinnertime options. I still relish the taste and the texture and have found I enjoy pretty much every variety of olive that’s out there. I particularly like them as part of a dinner plate with meat and cheese because they are light, and as I’ve gotten older I often prefer a lighter evening meal. The fact that they are a good component of a low-carb approach to eating and a fundamental element of a healthy “Mediterranean diet” just adds to the allure.
For me, olives are the prime example of why you should try something before you decide you don’t like it. For years, I missed out. Now I’m making up for lost time.