I'm Choking On A Kalamata Olive, Not Your Everyday Olive

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Vol 41 Issue 30

Chocolate Pudding Up $2 A Barrel

NEW YORK—The price per barrel of dark sweet chocolate pudding jumped to over $60 Monday as global anxiety continued to drive demand for the delicious after-meal treat. "There is no pudding-production shortfall, either from U.S. producers or the SNACPAC member nations," dessert analyst Blythe Barton said. "Demand alone is driving prices upward, with American consumers demonstrating an ongoing willingness to pay record prices per barrel for smooth, creamy pudding." The White House released a statement late Monday indicating that it has no intention of breaking the skin on the government's Strategic Pudding Reserves, which are to be used only in wartime or as a reward for finishing an entire serving of beets.

Bush To London Bombers: 'Bring It On'

WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush officially responded to the latest round of London transit bombings Monday, challenging terrorists to "do their worst." Said Bush, in a televised statement from the Oval Office: "The proud and resilient people of London can take anything the forces of evil and cowardice can throw at them. They will never live in fear of you. Bring it on." Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Bush for his comments, inviting him to visit London and ride the Underground in a show of solidarity.

Study: 72 Percent Of High-Fives Unwarranted

DALLAS—Specialists at the National Exuberance Institute said Monday that nearly three quarters of national high-five slap exchanges are unnecessary. "Abuse and inappropriate implementation of the gesture is epidemic," said NEI president Avi Gupta. "Celebratory high-fives are marking such mundane accomplishments as the clearing of paper jams, the ordering of hot wings, the viewing of favorite TV commercials, and the simultaneous wearing of identical items of clothing." Gupta called for the use of restrained high-five alternatives, such as the "thumbs up" and the exchange of curt nods.

Scientists Discover 6,000-Year-Old Stain

HAFR AL-BATIN, SAUDI ARABIA—Textile archaeologists have unearthed a section of coarsely woven Sumerian goat's wool bearing what could be the world's oldest, and perhaps its toughest, stain. "The stain, in scientific terms, is 'ground-in,' doubtless one of the active-lifestyle stains that plagued Sumerian families," said Leigh Perkins, the leader of the Tulane University team that uncovered the stain. "We hope to determine whether it's mud, blood, or some kind of blueberry proto-pie." Scientists say they can learn a lot from the discovery, such as how tough the Sumerians were on grime.

Embattled Rove Seeks Asylum In Scarborough Country

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—Diplomatic sources reported Monday that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has sought asylum in the conservative stronghold of Scarborough Country. "During his June 23 visit, Mr. Rove had indicated he might petition us for sanctuary from media persecution," said Joe Scarborough, the monarchical ruler of Scarborough Country. "And in my country, no passports are required and only common sense is allowed." While officials review Rove's asylum request, he is being held in the No-Spin Zone, a region of absolute neutrality governed by commentator Bill O'Reilly.

London Bombings

London subways and buses have been targeted in two subway attacks in recent weeks. What do you think?
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FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States

ZURICH—After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer’s governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer’s 2015 World Cup.

I'm Choking On A Kalamata Olive, Not Your Everyday Olive

Oh, my. This is superb. Superb, indeed. My Greek grocer Kostas told me he had a surprise for me, and he certainly did: These are quite simply the finest kalamata olives I've ever tasted. Absolutely delightful. Certainly not your ordinary olive. It's a privilege, really, just to be choking on one, as I am right now.

Ahh... yes. No need to panic just yet. My trachea is savoring the tang, the richness. This was hand-picked, I can tell. Yes, I can sense that its skin wasn't broken by a rough fall from a tree. I'm very sensitive to qualities like that. What a pity it would be if someone were present to end this culinary epiphany by unblocking my windpipe. Few outside of Greece experience an olive-choking this rapturous.

Mmm... Do I detect a splash of red-wine vinegar? Excellent, excellent. A shame to squeeze them into jars of acrid brine. Best to store these singular creatures in a gently seasoned marinade. And why muddle them in a tapenade, really? Enjoy them unadulterated and unpitted, I say. Relish their simple, onyx-like beauty. One of Olympus' greatest gifts to mortals, the kalamata olive. Be aware of the risks of enjoying them whole, however! My goodness, it's lodged in there quite tightly.

Ahh. Mmm, yes. Unmistakably from the Kalamata region of Greece. The pick of his cousin's grove, Kostas informed me, bless his heart. The crop seems unaffected by the spring windstorms of '04. Succulent. Powerful, but not overpowering. Perhaps the squalls blowing in from the Ionian Sea lightly salted the olive grove and its chalky soil! I kid, of course. By now, I'm sure you're all very anxious about my present condition. I shall alert the paramedics in short order, I assure you. Let me just savor these flavors a moment longer.

Delectable? Ravishing? Understatements. Adjectives do not do this olive justice. Yes, leave your everyday olives to the sticky, flyspecked countertops of open-air bars. Well, this is an all-new culinary experience. I am literally dying!

Absurd to think that for so many years I knew only those wan, vacuum-packed specimens of the pimento-stuffed canapés and dutifully garnished martinis of my own mother's patio parties—such farcical affairs. Jackie O and Lilly Pulitzer never did show up, sadly, but we were always left with enough tins of Underwood deviled ham to supply a score of sack lunches. Reality has such a way of being so tiresomely opprobrious. Ah well. Poor mother, she tried her best. No matter, I suppose.

This presents quite a wrinkle. I've dialed 911, but as I attempt to speak, no sound issues forth. Bah! Indulge your cravings for gauche heroics elsewhere, I beseech you. "Acclaimed Food Writer Saved By Fast-Thinking Lout" will not appear in tomorrow's papers.

My goodness. Having just caught a glimpse of myself in the alcove mirror, I realize that a degree of alarm is in order. I am turning blue. It's my own fault, you know, scarfing these delicious olives down like Allsorts. But I still firmly maintain, even as all grows shrouded and dim, that a kalamata olive is best savored whole, solid, and quick. Sweet Athena, this may be the end. But what a glorious way to go!

Martin Ithell's food column appears in over 250 newspapers nationwide.

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