435: Olives

Molly 0:04

I'm Molly.

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:04

And I'm Matthew and this is spilled milk,

Molly 0:07

the show where we cook something delicious. Eat it all

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:09

and you can't have any and today, maybe you've guessed already, we're talking about olives.

Molly 0:14

Yes, we're talking about olives. Once again, we are coming to you from Well, here we are in my closet. And man, we

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:21

are in Molly's closet. Yeah, I can't wait till we can get back to recording together so that we can both just like cram into your closet.

Molly 0:31

Yeah, yeah, cuz that's how we used to do it. Your your dining room table was in my closet. Exactly. So today, I didn't have the the small little comforter that I hung from the wall before. So I just hung up on part of the wall. Well, it

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:48

sounds to me

Molly 0:50

anyway. And I've surrounded myself with quilts, which are are good padding. You know? Like,

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:56

ya know, I've always had quilts or good padding. Yeah, no, I think I think even if you hadn't showed me I could have heard I can hear the contours of the coat.

Molly 1:03

Oh, good. Good. Great. That's what I'm always going for when I when I buy clothing, whether or not you can hear the contours of it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:10

If I look at the waveform as it's recording, it did look just looks like top coat shaped.

Molly 1:15

Oh, top coat. Is he Oh, top coat

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:18

are we talking about? As that word came out of like, I don't know what that is. I know it's something you would see on like a British costume drama. But I don't know what it looks like

Molly 1:26

Matthew, I think I might have told you this that I decided to join this like online, informal book club thing. That's that's reading Tolstoy's war and peace for the next three

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:37

months. I think you did mention that. And I was like, really?

Molly 1:42

I'm eight days into it. And so far, I'm wondering why why I'm gonna like this book. Or like, why I'm gonna care about these characters. But there was a passage in the part I read last night, where they were talking about great quotes. Oh, like, like a great quote, all one word.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:05

You're gonna think isn't a garment. And then like 27 pages later, you're gonna realize Actually, it's a kind of bird.

Molly 2:12

I think you're right. Soldiers were wearing it. So definitely

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:16

brace. Oh, yeah. No, no birds. Love landing wearing statues and soldiers. I know that.

Molly 2:21

Okay, well, that is what I've learned so far from war and peace.

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:25

Like Couldn't you I mean, I understand the impulse to like read a classic but couldn't Can you read like a modern classic like, like little fires everywhere or the Pelican Brief or something? Those are those are the only two books I'd like Quick quick think of books. They give titles of books. Those were the only two

Molly 2:46

I mean, like I okay, I think that there probably some people who would agree with you about this Celeste Ng book. Fires everywhere. But the Pelican Brief. Isn't that like my, like john Grisham or something? Is

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:00

what is it? It's absolutely john Grisham and the movie was Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. I

Unknown Speaker 3:07

think, you know,

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:07

I haven't read the book.

Molly 3:09

You know, it's another classic and modern literature. The firm. Have you heard of it? It's by john Grisham.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:16

Oh, yes, absolutely. Yeah. I have read a Me too. saw the movie. Yeah. Okay. We're cultured.

Molly 3:23

cultured. We are up to date on our our john Grisham. Yeah. What more does a person need to read? Really? Today? We are talking about olives.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:34

Yeah, and I think I think we've got like a special month going here. I don't know if all these episodes are gonna air in the same month. But like, I feel like we're really digging in on things that host Matthew is not a big fan of. Wait, what else did we do? Oh, we did. Todos. And I think I feel like for me, avocados and olives kind of going fall into the same category. Hmm. It's like, like,

Molly 3:56

like, you're very conditional about them. Like they're only specific places. You want them? Yes, that's

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:01

part of it. And also, I mean, like, they're both, I think I think I'm skeptical of them for the same reasons. Like they're rich. They're generally eating at room temperature. They're single pit in the middle each have a single pit. I didn't even think wow,

Molly 4:19

that'd be so suspect.

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:21

Yeah, no, no, I think I think by the end of this episode, I'm gonna make you hate olives. That's my goal.

Molly 4:29

We'll see. Okay, wait, speaking speaking of. Well, where are we speaking of memory lane?

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:37

We can we can begin speaking of memory lane now.

Molly 4:40

Okay, I'll lead it off. So I think that my earliest memory of olives is of being at some place where somebody had ordered a bunch of pizzas like for like delivery pizzas, right? Like you're at a slumber party, or you're at camp and it's like pizza day or whatever. Inevitably, there was To be a supreme pizza, that was what we called it back then. Do you remember us?

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:04

Oh, yeah. And that was what I still call it Supreme.

Molly 5:06

So that that I think is where I first encountered olives and was like, and of course those were the slice like canned olives. The black ones. Yeah. And

Unknown Speaker 5:15


Molly 5:16

then I remember when my dad started going to Mediterranean imports.

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:22

Oh, yeah, I didn't believe it's so exciting. Now when you mentioned Mediterranean imports, I'd like iPad to Mediterranean imports, like who hasn't been to Mediterranean imports.

Molly 5:31

Right. So anyway, Mediterranean imports in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was, as I recall, one of the first places where you could buy olives, like, you know, out of like bins or you know, like an olive bar type situation.

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:46

I'm so glad you mentioned that. Because like, remember,

Molly 5:49

hold on Matthew. I remember my dad going there and coming home with olives and being so excited about these really good olives that he could get there that we couldn't get anywhere else.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:00

I imagine. Imagine him coming back dressed like Santa with a big sack full of assorted olives.

Molly 6:05

Exactly. Exactly. Everyone's

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:06

stockings filled. I mean, you didn't have stockings hung up because it wasn't Christmas time. So we just like put a bunch of olives in your sock.

Molly 6:12

Yeah. Yeah. I loved it. It was a special tradition in our house. He would leave a sock hanging from your doorknob overnight and the next morning he would be filled with olives.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:22

That's what I would do in college when I was having

Molly 6:27

we would leave a sock on the doorknob.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:29

I would leave a doorknob and then do what I need. I to this day. I'm not sure I guess my roommate like as retaliation for for like kicking him out of the room.

Molly 6:39

All of Santa.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:40

Yes, all of my roommate would turn out to be all of Santa.

Molly 6:43

Okay. Anyway, so yeah, I think of olives. Like as a kid, I thought of them as being gross. This thing that showed up on pizza, it was unwanted. And then I think of my dad being super excited about them and me still being like, this is gross. Who wants to eat this? Not me.

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:01

Yeah, I've always been pretty much fine with olives on pizza. And other than that, I thought of them as like a gross grown up thing as a kid. And I'm realizing now that like, there are a whole bunch of things that I felt that way about as a kid and then like, grew to love as an adult. And then other things that just like stayed in that same category and I never grew up on

Molly 7:24

give me some examples of each category.

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:26

Okay, so things I hated as a kid but love now. Mushrooms, sushi. come to mind. Okay, things that I did not like as a kid and still don't like avocados. Olives, ketchup.

Molly 7:40

Yeah, condiments. Yeah. Right. Okay, but wait, what about you know, I know that our dads shared a lot of similarities in terms of sort of like being descendants of Eastern European extraction people.

Matthew Amster-Burton 7:56

What am I trying to say they were extracted from from an Eastern European. They weighed in on some sort of spy mission and had to be extracted

Molly 8:04

Yes. Anyway, did your dad like olives? Not that olives are Eastern European but I think that my dad grew up like eating olives in like these sort of more international communities then I grew up in that is

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:19

a really good question. I do not think of my dad as either liking or disliking olives. Like you know, I think he loves kimchi, like smoked and pickled fish, gefilte fish, but olives. I've never seen him like get excited about olives.

Molly 8:38

Can I tell you something really odious about myself at a previous time?

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:42

Oh, I would love that.

Molly 8:44

You know, like in the low fat craze in the 90s.

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:48

Yeah. Okay, so

Molly 8:49

my mom was a personal fitness trainer and like, you know, super into fitness. And it was like everywhere in the headlines then like you know, low fat everything. This was the era of like snack well, cookies and all that crap. I remember reading somewhere in like the sidebar of some magazine article that a single Olive contains two grams of fat. And I remember going

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:12

Oh, I know.

Molly 9:14

I remember going home and like chiding my father for his like fattening Olive habit. Can I can I cannot even believe that. I was once this person. This is a I'm embarrassed to admit it. I thought that this was an important way to take care of the health of my loved one was to scold him for eating olives.

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:40

Yeah, you're you're bad but I am brown so much then since then. The weird thing is that each Olive has two grams of fat and and that fat is Crisco.

Molly 9:50

I wonder where Crisco from. And then olive oil comes from from glance.

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:58

chicken egg plan, you score Is it really hard in like a vise and olive oil comes out. That's the Mediterranean diet. Ah,

Molly 10:08

that's what they mean by the Mediterranean diet.

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:12

It's like a whole fitness and diet plan where you like you get jacked by squeezing eggplants and then you and then you do shots of the oil that comes out of the eggplant.

Molly 10:21

Yum. It's great for your skin though. Yeah, my dad's beautiful skin

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:27

fitness regimen. Like I don't know where I'm going with this. Like it's the I don't have like a bit but like I've been doing I've been doing on a YouTube 30 Days of Yoga series. And yesterday there was a lot of AB work and my abs have never been sore than they are today. Like I keep I keep like moving and such right like what's wrong with my entire load? Oh, it was the ab workout.

Molly 10:49

So are you the kind of person who when you're sore from a workout, does it is it like do you feel good? Is it like a like a hurt so good john Cougar Mellencamp feeling or are you just kind of cranky about it? No, it's

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:03

more like a second down chili dogs outside the tastee freez. No, yes. I want to I want to like complain. I want to make sure everybody knows that. That like how how much it hurts. So they know that I exercised once. Yeah, yeah, no, that's kind of where I'm at. I

Molly 11:23

would like our listeners to also know that last week you admitted to me that you had done aerobics one afternoon and injured your ankle.

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:31

Right? That's why I switched to yoga. Because like less less like, feet slamming against the floor and I'm sure my downstairs neighbors appreciate it more. Also, what are some other john Cougar Mellencamp lyrics I could have gone to?

Molly 11:43

Oh god. Well, so I'm a big fan of the whole scarecrow album. scarecrow blood. Oh,

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:49

wow. Yeah, that's

Molly 11:51

it this land man.

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:53

That's kind of how I feel in the whole floor area. Like it's like a real like blood on the plow situation.

Molly 12:02

Is your whole core like, like our o ck in the USA? Is it like rock like a rock? I

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:07

mean, where I'm trying to get with it? I think like having done this one ab workout. I'm hoping that's enough to achieve like total core domination. How do you feel

Molly 12:18

about authority? Do you fight authority and authority always wins?

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:22

Oh, God. Yes. Are you kidding? I used to be on a city board. That was literally our thesis.

Molly 12:30

Well, this has been our john Cougar Mellencamp episode. Uh huh. Hey, I think I've told our listeners that America, but yes, yes. Did you know that I had guppies named john Cougar and Mellencamp as a child.

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:44

I remember you mentioning this. I'd forgotten until now though.

Molly 12:47

So there were good things about me. I wasn't just that kid who went around scolding her dad for eating olives because they were quote unquote, fattening? Yeah, God embarrasses me to say it. It's like so

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:00

I know. I'm glad I'm glad this show is a skeleton out of your closet. What other items do you have in that closet that you're in?

Molly 13:08

I'm gonna have to rummage around in it and let you know. It's probably more dust bunnies than skeletons. To be honest.

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:14

Fair, anyway. Okay. Okay. Speaking of dust bunnies, sorry. We're gonna get to all of this maybe eventually. But at one point on the show, we were talking I'm sure about like words that that you weren't sure if we're like a special word that only your family said. Or if lots of people said it. My mom has always called dust bunnies. Gar boons. Have you ever heard this?

Molly 13:35

I've never heard this. I

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:37

don't know if she made it up or like her. Her parents made it up or if like other people say it.

Molly 13:43

Judy amster. Please let us know after you listen to this episode. Maybe you can. I don't know. Maybe text Matthew and let

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:51

him know. Maybe you can again, like start a website? Or maybe you can like add carpool to urban dictionary.

Molly 13:56

Oh, that sounds good. That sounds good. Okay, Matthew. So so I'm going to take the lead here in getting down to business, please do. I'm a business person.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:07

I would I would I would take the lead and getting down to business I put that sock on my door. Catch all those

Molly 14:14

Well, alright. So I just want to I want to try to sort of focus us first of all by saying that this is not going to be an

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:24

hour's time focusing

Molly 14:24

us is something that truly cannot be done, but I keep trying. This is not going to be an episode about olive oil. This is an episode about olives, or like what we're going to talk about is table olives as they're called in. Okay, table olives. First, I'm going to throw down some pure knowledge.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:46

By the way, the reason we're not talking about olive oil today is because we did that already on episode 262. So go get it.

Molly 14:52

Oh, I'm so glad you looked that up.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:54

Yeah, okay, cool. No, no, I just I just know all all of our episode numbers just off the top of the dome hit me. Give me a give me a top grapes 147 just expired.

Molly 15:08

All right. Okay, so all lips are fruits. Alright, olives are the fruits of the olive tree, which is Olay. europea is the lakay europian opia. I'm not, I don't know where to put the emphasis

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:22

like, no one knows how to pronounce Latin names, right? Unless you unless you've like taken Latin and then even if you know some Latin like there are some weird pronunciation things in Latin like how C's are always a hard case down that even when you do it, say it right, you feel like you're doing it wrong.

Molly 15:37

Anyway, so the olive tree is in the same plant family as lilacs, Jasmine, forsythia and ash trees.

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:46


Molly 15:47

okay. All right. So the olive tree is an evergreen tree or shrub and it's native to the Mediterranean to Asia and to Africa, you will note that it is not native to the Americas, despite the fact that we grow a lot of them here, particularly in California.

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:04

Does that make it an invasive species?

Molly 16:06

Well, I'm actually I don't know if I wrote that on the agenda. But in some of the places that it's been introduced, like, particularly in parts of Australia, it does, like become invasive and takeover. Oh, native species territory.

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:20

I know. Anyway, so add olives.

Molly 16:22

So you know, I think we can all probably recognize the leaves of or picture the leaves of an olive tree right there. silvery green kind of oblong. Yeah, trunk is always kind of gnarled and twisted and gets more normal,

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:38

are old. And these are trees that can get really old. Right?

Molly 16:41

really old. We're going to be talking about that. Yes. So anyway, I thought this was really interesting. So the word Olive comes from Latin as you might expect, especially given where olive trees first, you know, came to be in the Mediterranean, the center of the Latin, ancient Well,

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:01

I mean, it could have been Greek also.

Molly 17:03

That's true. Oh, that's true. The word oil in English is derived from the Latin for olive oil. Oh, isn't that cool? And this is true of multiple other languages too, that the word oil derives specifically from the name of this

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:19

oil. So like when like, like all the Eau de Olivos. That means like oil oil.

Molly 17:25

Yeah, it seems seems like it does. So this fruit is a droop

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:29


Molly 17:30

It's a droop like that. That means like cherries, peaches, apricots, it's a fruit with a single, single pit or seed, right?

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:36

Yeah, where the where the seed the walls of the seed develop from the ovary. walls of the flower. That's

Molly 17:43

okay. Okay, cool. Apparently in wild olive trees, the like the the skin is is or the flesh is thinner. And, and the olives are smaller, whereas in like cultivated varieties, I guess you know, we've we've plumped them up.

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:01

Yeah, that's interesting. Like, like, you know, when when fruits are propagated by like birds or bears or whatever, like you're always like, smaller and less flashy. And because because apparently like birds and bears, which are the two main cab, what do you call propagators of seeds in the wild? They're just like, yeah, this seems good enough.

Molly 18:21

I love it when I come upon a bear in the wild like, you know, planting his his crop for for the season. It's so cute to watch a bear use tools.

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:32

I love it when when you come across them a bear in the wild because there's nothing I love more than watching you fight a bear. Every time I do it.

Molly 18:41

I remember when we were camped went camping. I was so disappointed that there were no bears

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:45

maybe would have gotten

Molly 18:46

to watch me fight a bear. Yep. But at the same time, we could have seen a bear planting his, you know, his vegetable garden. Yeah, that

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:53

was a real Grizzly woman.

Molly 18:55

I am. Here's what I think is kind of interesting. Like so obviously, I think we can all imagine all lives are a pretty like old crop, right?

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:03


Molly 19:04

So apparently fossil evidence tells us that the the olive tree is somewhere between 20 and 40 million years old. isn't like really like, I love how the older we get the further we get back into history, the more we're okay, with timespans I'm like 20 million.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:23

Fair, like, right, like, you know, where it wouldn't hold up in court is where I'm going with this. Like if you're asked like, you know, when when when did the murder take place? Well, you know, we think sometime between 1963 and next week.

Molly 19:38

Yes, exactly. That is what it's like. And the the first olive trees probably grew in an area that now corresponds to Italy and sort of the eastern Mediterranean basin.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:51

seems fair.

Molly 19:52

Yeah, yeah. I mean, that seems logical given that that is also where most all lives are grown. Now.

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:59

You Yeah first

Molly 20:00

the first cultivated the first olives were like, you know, cultivated for domestic use.

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:09

Yes. Now they were domesticated were

Molly 20:11

domesticated about 7000 years ago in that same part of the world. So apparently, as far back as 3000 BC, olives were being grown commercially on the island of Crete in Greece. And olives or olive oil may have been the source of the tremendous wealth of the Minoan civilization on Crete.

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:31

Pretty cool, huh? That is pretty cool. On the one hand, on the other hand, that means like, they were like, asshole, all of billionaires.

Molly 20:39

Yes, back there, probably

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:40

because, like, you know, 5000 you know, yeah, 5000 years from now people gonna say like, you know, back back in, in whatever they're gonna call this dumb era. Like, you know, people people were wealthy because they had warehouses full of like, you know, shirts and and, and audio equipment and toilet paper. And we're like, oh, yeah, that's really interesting.

Molly 21:01

But people used to be all if barons

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:03

right now there used to be all of Barron's.

Molly 21:05

Yes. Yes. Before the old railroad barons. And,

Unknown Speaker 21:09


Molly 21:12

Amazon barons, yeah. Anyway, so Spanish colonists brought olives to, to the Americas in the mid 1500s. And initially, the trees like first caught on in what is now Peru, Chile and Argentina. Okay, and then it actually wasn't for like 200 years until the mid to late 1700s. That Spanish missionaries planted the first olive trees in California. So then in California, you know, it took a while for olive trees to really get going. But olive oil production started in California in the 1860s. But once again, we are not talking about olive oil, Matthew. So anyway,

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:54

um, there were people eating table olives at the time do we know?

Molly 21:58

Wow. So it from everything that I was learning. Certainly there is some crossover between all varieties that are used for eating and all varieties that are used for oil. But I I think that like most of the time, if you are an olive grower, you are either growing table olives, or you're growing olives for oil, like okay,

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:22

I think you're gonna do I want to go for the oil kind.

Molly 22:26

Oh, okay. I think that's you're going to be an oil Baron.

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:29

I'm going to be an oil Baron.

Molly 22:30

I think that is a that is a road to wealth that is well paved my friend. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:37

I want to have the best thing about being an oil Baron is like that. Probably. You know, we saw one like on the on the, on the lawn of the of City Hall in Oklahoma City, right, or the state capitol, that that have one of those oil, oil well, things that goes up and down and like you know what? No, no person of any mature age has ever looked at it without thinking about sex. Right?

Molly 23:02

I forgot that you look at that and think about sex.

Unknown Speaker 23:04

I grew up.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:06

I'm the only one

Molly 23:07

you're the only one. I grew up looking at those. And I think I probably looked at those before I knew about sex. I never Okay, never looked at them and thought about sex.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:16

Then your parents gave you the talk. You're like, oh, like the oil.

Molly 23:20

What is happening even called I think it's called an oil derrick. Oh, that's

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:24


Molly 23:25

Is that I are an oil. I

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:27

think you're right. Maybe Okay, if that's not a thing that's called an oil derrick. It should be because it that seems like it should be called a Derrick.

Molly 23:35

Yeah. Okay.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:36

That was the most total logical thing I've ever said.

Molly 23:38

So, I want to get into talking about like how olives are I want to get into talking about how olives are harvested and like how they're brined and fermented and stuff because I didn't know and I think that's pretty cool. But first first Matthew Yeah, I want to talk about just a I'm gonna turn here to the literary side of our our podcast,

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:02

oh you learn something about olives from war and peace this is

Molly 24:06

this is our what should this segment be called? We have a memory lane segment we have a what have we learned segment sometimes. This Is Our Story our story our Alright,

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:18

so segment will be one hour long.

Molly 24:22

Alright, so as you may have noticed, from history classes and reading many different types of books, and looking at our olive trees and olive branches have been used to symbolize things in many cultures and religions.

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:39

Just like how oil derricks have been used to symbolize things.

Molly 24:44

Yeah, actually do we use things to symbolize things

Unknown Speaker 24:47

I think we're not realizing

Molly 24:47

English anyway, but so olive branches that olive branches are a symbol for peace for glory in like early like First

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:01


Molly 25:03


Matthew Amster-Burton 25:04

you know how like, I don't know if it's on the, on the dollar or what because because like who has $1 anymore? But like, you know how a dog goes flying by with an olive branch in its mouth? Is that something that's ever really happened? Because I know we've talked about this on the show. I've mentioned this many times that like when I see a bird with a worm hanging out of its mouth, like your life is like a thing I can see that makes me feel like oh my god, everything in the world is gonna be okay, because like a bird is actually carrying a worm around, like in a kid's book.

Molly 25:32

That's how I feel when I see bears planting their vegetable garden. Exactly. Yes. I'm like, I feel safe.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:40

Yeah, so so like a dove. If a dove ever flies by like, an olive branch for real, I want to hear about it.

Molly 25:46

Okay. Anyway, so I'm in ancient Greece, as well as other times and places. branches were frequently given as offerings to Gods and they were made into crowns for the victors of various games and races and things. I wonder if you know I haven't watched Ben Hur anytime recently, but I wonder if at the end of that, that chariot race if there was a an olive branch crown

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:10

What do you think that would make sense? I mean, whenever I whenever I win a game of Sorry, I demand that my family make me an olive branch crown.

Molly 26:17

Great. Alright, so there ends a story our that wasn't really story our It was more like literary symbols our or Okay, yeah. symbols, I think a good story.

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:29

Our I don't think anyone's gonna tune in for cultural symbols, iconography, our

Molly 26:41

let's talk about eating olives. Okay. Okay. Well, here's one thing that's really cool. Before we get into eating at all. Please, it's a disaster. I just wanted to say that. I think it's really amazing that some of the oldest olive trees in the world are still bearing fruit

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:59

like that. That is amazing

Molly 27:01

to me. So there are, are we talking? There are many different parts of the world that claim to have the world's oldest olive trees. And of course, and a lot of these are not verified. Okay, so I'm just gonna list off some places that are like purported to have olive trees that are at least 1500 to 2000 years old.

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:22

All right, that's impressive.

Molly 27:24

So um, so Croatia, Israel and Palestine, both territories claimed to have extremely old olive trees like as old as time itself time itself. Of course, Crete. Malta apparently has a really old olive tree. Anyway,

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:42

they also have an old Falcon that sometimes carries an olive tree in its mouth. No. Branch.

Molly 27:49

Tree spouse.

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:52

Does Falcon

Molly 27:53

has a strong p?

Matthew Amster-Burton 27:55

Well, it's been it's been doing. It's been trapped inside doing. YouTube yoga, the Maltese Falcon spin doing yoga and like blasting its core.

Molly 28:05

Yeah. Okay. All right. So let's, let's talk about table olives. Let's talk about eating olives. Alright, so

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:11

I don't believe you. You've told me like four times already that we're going to talk about that. And it hasn't happened yet. So I'm not gonna be fooled again.

Molly 28:18

So table olives are classified into three groups according to how ripe they are when they're harvested. All right. And I think you can imagine this Have you ever in in your years of being a snooty food person?

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:33


Molly 28:34

Did you ever do like olive oil tastings in which you would try like a young olive oil that would be more green and kind of peppery, slightly bitter. And then you might try an olive oil made from older more mature like darker kind of black or purple olives. And that would be like a rounder, more buttery flavored olive oil,

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:54

did you? I mean, I think we probably did this on our very own olive oil episode. I don't know if I you. I mean, probably you told me at the time, but I don't think I knew what types of olives produce different. boldness is of olive oil.

Molly 29:10

You can you can imagine this in terms of flavor without even having to taste them. So olives that are picked when they're green. Okay, these are full size olives, but they're still unripe so they're green to yellow, and they still have in them in pretty high concentrations, this bitter chemical phytochemical called Ollie or a pain Ollie or a pin. Oh, do you think you pronounce this word?

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:38

I'm not gonna do it any better than you did?

Molly 29:40


Matthew Amster-Burton 29:41

I think you could do better. Oh, Euro pain. No, I don't like that.

Molly 29:46

That's pretty good. Anyway, so that's Um, so those are green olives. Then we have the next category is semi ripe olives. Those are picked at the beginning of the ripening cycle. So the color has begun to change from Green to like some shades of red or brown.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:02

Yeah, I feel like I'm a semi ripe all of at this point in life.

Molly 30:06

Yeah, me too. Is that what we call middle age? Yeah, thing is semi right bollock black or ripe olives are of course the third category. Those are picked when they're fully ripe. And they're usually purple brown or black. Although, I think there are I think most of the olives that we encounter that are black are artificially black. Yes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:27

Okay, so Oh wait, I added something to the agenda here because I remember it when all of bars started showing up in supermarkets. And even though I wasn't interested in like shopping at the olive bar, like once the olive bar came to my local supermarket, I knew things had gotten fancy around here. Like that was like a consistent marker of fanciness.

Molly 30:50

Yes, I agree. Okay, so So let's talk about about what olives are like when they first come off the tree especially if they're green.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:59

So unraised about this because this is just like one of these things where you have to do a bunch of stuff to it before you can eat it right? Yes,

Molly 31:05

this is not like you know, picking an apple off a tree or a peach off a tree. This is like a fruit that needs to be dealt with. can eat it. So raw olives are fresh olives are very bitter. And that's because they have high amounts of that only year of pay Ali only are a pain, that's all your o p p, o p o but it only has one p

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:32

does matter. I saw I don't remember what show this was it was probably on Food Network where someone was taking a tour like the host of the show was taking a tour of an olive orchard. And the and the grower was like I mean obviously it's this was like a total setup like like guy, you know, he wasn't really surprised but had to act surprise but the grower was like, hey, host of the show. Why don't you try one of these fresh olives right off my tree and the host bit into it is like,

Molly 31:56

yeah, yeah. So So here's the thing in order to be palatable. Olives need to either be cured, or they need to be cured and fermented. Usually, most olives are fermented in order to remove or convert the oleuropein and other compounds to that make olives kind of yucky tasting. So generally speaking, these compounds are at really high concentrations in young olives, right. And in some cultivars of olives, as they mature on the tree, the earlier pain is converted to other like more palatable compounds. And those particular cultivars are sometimes edible when they're fully ripe without curing or fermenting, but I think that is not the case for most olives that we encounter.

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:45

Okay, so I'm kind of used to the idea from like, you know, research that we've done from this show that like humans will, like fuck around with any food until they find some find a way to eat it. What are the How does the bears do this? Well, I

Molly 32:58

think that animals eat a lot of stuff that is not palatable to us, dude. I mean, like, my dog was eating the leg of a dead crab on the beach today.

Unknown Speaker 33:07

Yeah, yeah,

Molly 33:08

I had to stop her. She's gotten food poisoning from that before. Yeah. But so I don't know. I mean, I wonder, you know, animals that live in places where all of trees grow. I imagine they're eating the olives off the trees. Right?

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:22

Well, and I think like I this is that was the thing about the pears was supposed to be a joke. But now things things have just gotten very serious. Because we talked about this. I think we've talked about this on like a chili episode or something that like, lots of lots of like hot peppers are propagated by birds who seem to do not respond to capsaicin and just like, don't notice that they're spicy.

Molly 33:45

That is so interesting to me. And the capsaicin

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:46

is there to ward off like mammals that will that will digest the seeds.

Molly 33:52

Okay, so the animals that would pass the seeds in their poop or whatever are the ones who would be able to eat it without experiencing the capsaicin.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:02

Yeah, so maybe maybe like there's a similar thing going on with all of us. But we can always we can always outsmart some stupid plant. Let's treat humans as well. So

Molly 34:10

here is how we outsmart that plants. All right. So the curing process takes if you're using lye, to cure your olives, it takes only a few days, and some olives are cured with lye. If you're curing them in a salt brine, or by salt packing them, it can take a few months. So I didn't listed here because it was way too much detail. But there are like different different regions, like Spanish olives, at least according to Wikipedia. Entire regions might tend to cure their olives in the same way using the same like cabs or whatever.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:50

Get ly

Unknown Speaker 34:51

I don't know.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:53

They're they're always like traditional like, like food processing. Yeah, like, you know, people. I like long I'm and and like con sway water and lie like where did people get this stuff? I have my Yeah, like I would get it from like a hardware store probably

Molly 35:10

did they get it by like grinding rocks or like the right different concentrations of DNA from different rocks or?

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:20

Yeah, I think I think grinding rocks,

Molly 35:24

rocks. Okay. Anyway, so um, so here's the deal this this curing this curing does two things. What it does is while the and maybe you can help me understand here so I don't say that but I'll try. Let's say you've got some olives that are soaking in a salt brine. Okay, well so there's also like natural micro Flora like yeasts and things on the skin of the olive, okay, and as the olive is curing, those natural micro Flora on the skin of the olives also induce fermentation. Okay, if that makes sense. So, so this process this curing and fermentation, it does two things, it leeches out and breaks down those phytochemicals that make olives tastes bitter. And it also generates other metabolites. The Gift table olives, like helps preserve them. So some of them sometimes it makes them shelf stable. And it also gives them like the texture and the flavor that we're used to.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:27

So, make sense What was I supposed to help explain?

Molly 36:30

Oh, well, how it is that like, this curing process also induces fermentation, the micro Flora are present and so is it just that while the curing is happening, the micro Flora are also like waking up and starting to do so. Oh, yeah, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:47

think so.

Molly 36:47

Okay. Okay, cool. Anyway, so, you know, I was remembering as I was reading up on this, that the first olives I liked, and this seems really weird to me, but the first olives I ever liked. Were were oil cured olives. What does

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:01

that mean? Well, so have you ever

Molly 37:03

noticed in the olive bar, that there's usually one particular tray of olives that is not in a brine, usually dry and they kind of look like raisins.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:14

Like I like now that you mentioned that? Yes. I don't usually spend a lot of time near the olive bar because it's full of olives. But when I when I happen to pass by I have noticed that,

Molly 37:26

okay, well, so what those are, those are all lives that are initially salt cured, they're packed in layers of salts. And so they don't actually ferment a lot. They, they mostly just cure. And then so those are salt packed olives, but then to make oil cured olives, they're cured in salt, and then they're, they're washed and soaked in oil and

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:49

Oh, I bet those have like four grams of fat per Olive.

Molly 37:54

Anyway, so they almost wind up looking like a like a raisin like kind of a big, black reason. Anyway,

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:01

like a date, sort of.

Molly 38:04

But they, they, they're, you know, they're obviously much smaller than that. They're like olive size. Anyway, those olives I ever liked, which seems very strange to me now because compared to olives that are packed in brine, they are really strong and really salty. Anyway, so yeah, so that that is a different way of curing olives is curing them by layering them in in dry salt not abroad. I

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:30

mean, but to be fair, as a kid, your nickname was little strong and salty. Anyway,

Molly 38:35

so let's talk about about the the way that that some olives are artificially blackened or like artificially ripened because this is super cool. So this was this process was invented in California in like the mid 1890s actually in Oakland by this German woman who I guess was trying to figure out what to do with some olives she had growing on a tree that she wanted to make palatable.

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:01

Okay, Okay, got it. Oh, MC Hammer appears in the story.

Molly 39:05

So this is how all the olives that you like black olives that you buy in a can any olives that you buy that say like California, right? olives is what they're generally referred to. Anyway, they're not fermented. What you do is you start with green or semi ripe olives, which are then soaked in lie here we get the lie again. Yeah. Then you wash them in water that is injected with compressed air. So it's like you're washing them in like fizzy water.

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:35

Oh, but like but like air does he make water fizzy but compressed air? Okay, well, so this washing, like getting like power washed?

Molly 39:46

I don't know. I bet there's

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:49

a like a like a video like a you know how stuff works video.

Molly 39:54

Okay, well anyway, so you know you've got these green or semi ripe daulat or semi ripe olives. They're soaked in ly. Then they're washed in water that's injected with compressed air. And this is done several times until both oxygen and lye have soaked through the olives, flesh all the way to the pit. And in the process, this oxidizes the skin and the flesh turning it black. So it this kind of mimics natural ripening. And then they're brined and sort of corrected for acidity and they're ready to eat.

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:28

That's so weird because it's like so we know for 1000s of years, people have been like screwing around with this fruit and like figuring out how to make it edible. And then someone some German lady in Oakland comes along in at night. He is like, you know, I got a different way to fuck around with this and also make it edible.

Molly 40:45

Well, and the other thing and this I couldn't really find is like, why didn't she just like, leave them on the tree? And then Brian them the old world way?

Matthew Amster-Burton 40:56

Well, that sounds faster, I guess. I guess. I

Molly 40:59

mean, I guess if you're too impatient to wait for your olives to be ripe. But you want them to look like they're right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:06

You can do this? Well, I mean, these are the cheapest all of so there must be something about the process that's more efficient than the old school method.

Molly 41:13

Yeah, it sounds like maybe it also happens a lot faster. Yeah. Right. I mean, if you're like forcing this oxygen, you know, this oxidation process anyway. So yeah, Matthew, what like Okay, so now that we have done all this talking about olives, you still don't like olives? Right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:32

So you asked me before this episode to think about, like how I would describe the flavor and texture of an olive? And I think so. I don't think it's just about the texture with all those although I think that's a lot of it that it's like a rich room temperature thing that's dense and has like kind of like a fudgy texture to it.

Molly 41:51

I think you're describing so many different things. brownies,

Matthew Amster-Burton 41:57

brownies, but yeah, I would I would prefer pound cake

Molly 42:01

over human flesh.

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:02

Can we pivot the text right now? I don't think human flesh has fudgy texture. Oh, come on. You just caught me in your trap. Like you made me admit that I've been I've chewed human flesh and it doesn't have a fudgy texture. This is this is when the cuffs go on. Good thing. Good thing you're all the way over there in your closet. They'll never catch me. I don't know like and so then there's like, there's like a like a like a like sharp like, you know briny funk that cuts through that like kind of goes up your nose when you're eating an olive? I don't know like I want to like them.

Molly 42:41

Have you tried many different types of olives? You know since introduction of the olive bar It is easy to get many different types with different flavors.

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:49

No because I don't like them but I like I've tried different types of olives on pizza like like, you know, our local pizza chain Paul yachi like they have they'll do you like you know to lug supreme pizza with with California have, quote ripe olives. But they'll also do like a pizza with Kalamata olives. And I like that too. Like, on a pizza. It works for me because it's not, I'm not having to face the texture head on and the flavor, like gets to like, kind of jump in with a bunch of other flavors.

Molly 43:19

What about green olives?

Matthew Amster-Burton 43:21

I think that would probably be my last choice. Hmm. I don't know why, like, I couldn't tell you like in it that you know, it's because green olives have like such and such a as flavor notes.

Molly 43:31

Okay. Well,

Matthew Amster-Burton 43:32

I couldn't tell you about flavor notes.

Molly 43:34

So uh, you know, I think one of the first olives that I tried after I decided that I didn't hate olives was obviously the the Kalamata, you know, a quite ubiquitous Olive. I remember when my dad was sick and a lot of different, you know, people in our community were bringing food to us. I remember this seemed like a very new combination at the time. This was 2002. I remember some neighbors bringing over like a big bowl of like, mesclun greens, some shaved fennel, some Kalamata olives, and like, you know, orange Supremes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 44:15


Unknown Speaker 44:16

right. Isn't

Molly 44:17

that super 90s? Anyway, um, yeah, I remember I remember Kalamata olives were sort of the gateway all at once I had decided that I was into them. Kalamata olives. I think that makes sense. Also show up in Greek salads, especially here in the States. I'm not sure about Greek salads in Greece,

Matthew Amster-Burton 44:38

they remember you in Greece.

Molly 44:41

I was in Greece, but you know, I was just in a small part of Greece.

Matthew Amster-Burton 44:45

Okay, next time, you should go to a big part of Greece and check out the salad situation.

Molly 44:50

And like, part of what is so cool about like the Greek islands, let's just turn this into the podcast. Part of what's so cool about the Greek islands is that

Matthew Amster-Burton 44:59

reasons A lot of grams of fat.

Molly 45:01

Each one has a quite different food culture. So there's some like even though these are islands that I'm I'm talking specifically about the Greek islands, not the mainland. So there's somewhere like nobody likes really, really important. There's some where seafood is obviously really important. But then there are other ones that have almost sort of like an Italian kind of vibe with a lot of pasta. And like chickpeas, then there's somewhere like meat is much more prevalent lamb anyway,

Matthew Amster-Burton 45:31

which is the one of the Cyclops lives. So this is me that island.

Molly 45:36

This is what makes me say that I'm not sure if there is a particular type of olives that is used in what we think of as Greek salad, but hold on, I'm not done, please. So then, like so in France there France I think is for me, where I first tasted a lot of like green olives like shaleen olives, right? Yellow Green. Yeah. Or like those tiny little purpley black olives. Nice. swas olives, Spanish arbequina. olives are kind of a like a purplish green, I believe or kind of brownish. But I would say that these days the olive that everybody's really into including my kid is castelvetrano olives, which has heard the word but

Matthew Amster-Burton 46:23

I don't know what it is.

Molly 46:24

Tell me it's a it's a quite bright green Olive it's very round as opposed to kind of being oblong.

Matthew Amster-Burton 46:32

The one who I shoot marbles with it if necessary.

Molly 46:35

Exactly. Exactly. That is actually how it rose to popularity it is people were like, Oh, it's you know, like marbles are really hard to find in stores. These days. Kids don't seem to be playing with marbles. But if you want to play with marbles, like it's easy, just go to the olive bar.

Matthew Amster-Burton 46:54

That makes sense. Yeah. Like that's why we used to shoplift from the olive bar was to so we could keep gambling on marbles. Have you ever played marbles? Like draw a circle and like like you got it like a like a shooter and I don't remember what they're called. marbles is not a good game. Like I my

Molly 47:12

my brother had a huge marble collection. I think that he used to play marbles. yet. No, I

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:17

had a marble collection as a kid and then I was like, oh, let's play marbles. And it's kind of like dominoes. Like, you're like oh yeah, it's like a fun artifact to to collect and play with but the actual game kind of sucks.

Molly 47:30

What about marble tracks or marble runs? Now I like though Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:34

what about the video game Marble Madness that was that was good hard game but good. Yeah, like marble tracks. Like the one with like the like the wooden one with like blocks that they would go through and then ramps. Yes. Now we're talking. I wonder

Molly 47:48

how many hipster parents have tried sending a castelvetrano olives down a marble track?

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:53

Yeah, all of them. All of them.

Molly 47:56

Yeah, you know what I do here at home on Saturday nights. castelvetrano Olive in my marble track if

Matthew Amster-Burton 48:04

I put my castelvetrano Olive in my marble track. Oh, yeah. Anyway, so that's the end of the story.

Molly 48:12

I think one reason that people love Castile for Toronto olives is that they are a quite like mild Olive in terms of brininess they're very buttery and not to to Briony Olive. The one thing that I don't love is that kind of the same way that some stone fruits are Freestone. And some are like cling, oh, I think of Casanova, Toronto olives as being a particularly clingy Olive like I have this flesh off the pit and that bothers me like not that I've often eaten and all of it that sometimes I've like, you know, there's been olives at a party or something like,

Matthew Amster-Burton 48:48

I get a lot of all of parties. I'm like, okay, like I'll eat it all. But then it takes a lot of like scraping like with my little mouse teeth to get to the inside of the

Molly 49:00

house. What I love about Olive parties is a god I always love it when they have a marble track there and then we all we all put our olives down the marble track and it is hot.

Matthew Amster-Burton 49:12

Oh yeah. Yeah. Like Like if you win you win big.

Molly 49:15

Yes. What it What does it mean to win big does it mean you get to take somebody else's spouse home?

Matthew Amster-Burton 49:20

Like, that's what I was thinking for sure. Yeah, it's an all in all a party. That's what they call key parties in Greece.

Molly 49:26

Oh, olive party.

Matthew Amster-Burton 49:27

Yeah, yes. I have a question. Who do you think would win in a fight between a bear and a cyclops? Oh,

Molly 49:34

I think a cyclops Yeah, cuz they're bigger

Matthew Amster-Burton 49:38

and smart. Kind of smart. I mean, like, not as smart as Odysseus, but like, they're sorted like, you got, like human ish brains. Right. I

Molly 49:45

also think that they wait the cyclopses aren't they one of the sons of Cronus did maybe reject them or something. Well, that's rude.

Matthew Amster-Burton 49:56

Yeah, Cronus was not very nice.

Molly 49:58

He was not nice. He was not Nice that he's like the definition of not nice. Anyway, yeah, so this is our all live episode.

Matthew Amster-Burton 50:06

Yeah so so we've learned that Molly Molly can can beat a bear in hand to hand combat Cronus the the Lord of the Titans was there was a real jag head and I that's pretty much it. That's all that's most whatever. But oh, that can be substituted for marbles, but only certain olives.

Molly 50:25

Yes. There we go. All right. Why

Matthew Amster-Burton 50:29

have we learned

Molly 50:30

that's what we learned. That's what we learned. So anyway, I would really like to hear from Judy amster today about that. That word for dust bunnies. I've already forgotten it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 50:40

Yeah. Where did it come from? harpoons?

Molly 50:42

garbage. Okay, I would also like to hear from our listeners@facebook.com slash spilled milk podcast. I would like us to hear. I mean, I would like them to tell us maybe what do we want them to tell us?

Matthew Amster-Burton 50:55

like listening to a show where one person was talking about all of that another person was interrupting it. Try to try to think of as many john Cougar Mellencamp songs as possible.

Molly 51:09

I think that one of the weaknesses of this episode. This is turned into our This is now the

Matthew Amster-Burton 51:15

better. Okay, yeah, this is a new segment that's gonna be happening a lot like a real self reflection.

Molly 51:21

I think one thing that we could have done that other listeners will maybe be able to chime in on on Facebook is I think that we could have talked more about cooking with olives. There's so many great recipes and dishes.

Matthew Amster-Burton 51:36

From our palate cookbook, is that olives. Yeah,

Molly 51:40

that's right, isn't it? olives and prunes. Oh, that sounds wrong.

Matthew Amster-Burton 51:45

We're looking it up on Wikipedia on it right now the silver palates chicken Marbella recipe if there's such a thing as Boomer cuisine, it can be found in the wounded or blamed Damn Damn Damn, that's rubies and green olives and capers. Yeah, cuz capers or olives. It's both and prunes. Yeah, you're absolutely right.

Molly 52:02

Oh my god. Yeah. Okay, so I'm so glad that we did wind up to we did wind up getting an invention of chicken Marbella.

Unknown Speaker 52:09

Yeah. Anyway, so

Molly 52:11

please listeners Facebook.

Matthew Amster-Burton 52:14

At all this is like I just said word topping odd for the first time on

Molly 52:19

to talk about top knot I love top a nod. Alright, so listeners it come help us out. Tell us what you like to do with olives other than use them as marbles.

Matthew Amster-Burton 52:29

Yeah, no, that goes That goes without saying Alright, so you can do that@facebook.com slash build knock podcast. You can also find us on Instagram at spilled dog podcast and let us know there. Our producer is Abby circuit tele. Please rate and review the show wherever you find it. And until next time, thank you for listening to spilled milk. The show that soaked in lies.

Molly 52:52

Wow, plural. Wow. Harsh. I'm Molly weissenberg.

Matthew Amster-Burton 52:57

And I'm Matthew Amster-Burton.

Molly 53:06

Hang on I need just a second. Yep. Yes, I need you need your sweat pants. Ash. You should have thought of that. Before I started taping. You're gonna have to walk around with no pants. No, get in here and get your pants but Matthew is on the video so don't show him your crotch. Good Lord. God, Matthew look away.

Matthew Amster-Burton 53:34

Okay, turn off the camera.

Molly 53:36

Okay, no, I can't turn off the camera. You kidding? That's too difficult. Okay. Anyway, so um