I love olives, their round and squishy shapes, their crazy taste, like rock n’ roll grapes. I love chewing them, how they roll and squirm with my teeth and tongue. It is impossible not to think about eating olives when you are eating olives. I love their colour, the glistening grey-green sheen. Jostling in the dish of salty water, they look like the backs of a herd of wet green elephants, if I was the size of a giant elephant and they were the size of a tiny me.
I love pickles. Not the gloopy sweet sweet jelly they call pickles here, in Nova Scotia, but the sour sugar-free Iranian pickles we buy from the Iranian shops. The same bog-green colour as olives, with flecks of orange carrots. Crunchy, so sour they draw my mouth and face in crazy shapes. I spoon more and more over rice, until I am finally eating a pickle-rice salad, the rice swimming with the bits of squashed pickled vegetables in a plate of olive-green vinegar.
But never call me a food nationalist. I love the pickle onions and artichokes I can buy from the supermarkets here. The onions are the same size as olives but rounder, pearly yellow-white, and I crunch them up quickly, one after the other, as if I would die if I don’t pop the next one as soon as I can. The artichokes are all floppy and layered, an alien plant to my eyes, they might as well have come from mars. I eat a full jar in one go, then wander around holding my belly and feeling dizzy.
This eating is so different from the other kind of eating which we do at meals. This is a kind of rapture eating.