First memories of olive oil

My first memory of olive oil is with my father. I must have been about 6. My mother would go out on Sundays leaving my father and I to make messes in the kitchen. She would often come home, open the door and shout, “I smell chutney and weirdness”. My mother can smell things from states away, no joke, so you better be making smoothing good. In hindsight, my mother would have been an all star olive oil taster. Although, she has always been partial to meat, potatoes and corn on the cob. Who can blame her? After all she grew up on a farm in rural Ohio.

These magical, culinary Sundays with dad would often begin by going to one of the markets or specialty food stores in South Jersey or if we were adventurous, Philly. The asian market I loved for the rice candy and free stickers. The farmers market I loved for the long bike rides to get there and then the water ices.

However, the specialty store where my father first introduced me to olive oil had.. cool sponges. Yes, I hate to say it but it was the darn sponge that caught my eye not the olive oil. They were compacted to the thickness of cardboard and would expand into a small sponge when wet. What did you expect, I was only 6. However, I do remember that clear bottle with the golden colored liquid inside and my father telling me something about “this is olive oil” as if it were something real exotic (mind you it was the early 80’s, Madonna had just made her debut) and although I was more excited over the sponge, his excitement also stuck with me.

When we got home that day, our shopping bag had a bottle of olive oil and some tea. As a bonus, the store owner gave me that sponge for free.

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