As many of you already know, I hate olives. Yes, I know it is a character flaw. I like almost everything generally recognized as edible, and will often eat things that turn other people's stomachs, yet for some unknown reason olives taste putrid and rotten to me. Kalamata, Niçoise, green-with-a-pimiento-in-it, whatever--I despise them.
Somehow I even love olive oil, but not olives. In my world, olives might as well be cockroaches.
Yesterday I stopped for lunch at Big City Bread in Athens. I ordered spinach quiche and a house salad. The food there, in general, is lovely, and yesterday was no exception.
There were about eight high-quality (I assume) black olives in a little heap on the plate. They were right in the middle, piled up against the hunk of focaccia bread that comes with the quiche and salad. Some of them were touching the quiche and the salad.
And so it was that I discovered that there is one thing in the wide world of food that is more disgusting than olives: Olives marinated in orange zest. I have heard this combination spoken of with reverence. Some people supposedly love it and seek it out. Make no mistake, it is horrific.
The hideous olive-and-orange flavor permeated and destroyed whatever it touched. I had to leave half of my lunch on the plate. I wanted to swap it out for a new, oliveless dish, but there wasn't actually anything wrong with it, it just had these repellent orange cockroaches on it.
I need to remember to ask servers to leave the olives off. Even in situations where the olive taste doesn't mar my food, I feel guilty leaving a pile of olives on the plate, because I know they are seen as a delicacy. They are intended as a special favor, a lagniappe. I feel like a cad for rejecting them.
Also, I hate to waste things. But eurrrrghhh! I am damned if I am going to eat them.