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Trina Machacek: Not Popeye’s gal

By Trina Machacek

I don’t get olive oil. Not Olive Oyl, Popeye’s gal Friday. No the slick, light golden to green colored, virgin, extra virgin, pure as the driven snow virgin olive oil you use in your kitchen. Yes that olive oil.

The mysterious oil that apparently has powers that will do magical things to you if you use it correctly. I’m a corn oil cooker. Sometimes I step outside my cooking box and buy canola oil. But! Yes and oily “but.” HAHA

But I don’t even know just exactly what the difference between canola and corn oil is. I mean besides the obvious. You know, one is on sale one week and the other is on sale the next week. That olive oil though. It is never on sale. So it must be pretty spectacular right?

I was be-bopping through a grocery store recently and had a few extra seconds so I slowed down and looked at some top shelf stuff. You ever do that? It’s amazing what is up on the shelves out of the straight line of fire of middle shelf grab and go items. Oh the money spent trying to garner those spots on grocery store shelves would choke a horse. And we all know how much a horse eats!

Back up to the top shelf goodies. This is where I spotted some really pretty bottles of olive oil. Green and golden and sparkly and in bottles that would put some perfume bottles to shame. I picked up a few just to see what all the hullabaloo was about concerning olive oil. One was shaped like a pyramid, large at the bottom with a teeny tiny opening at the top. Apparently this is to keep the user, like me, from pouring out too much of the golden liquid as it was to my mathematical skills about sixty seven bucks a quart! WOW.

The tiny label touted this oil would make any salad come alive. Or make a truffle get up and do the hoochie koochie in a pan. I decided I did not want my salad to come alive and shake its leafy greenness at me as I tried to stuff it in my pie hole. Also not too interested in seeing a truffle hoochie any of it’s koochie at me. I mean besides the fact that I’m not real sure what a truffle is — or if I could even afford any.

I do not have a palette that is upscale. I have more of a, you want fries with that palette. I’m OK with that. I do try new stuff though. I’ve done the western fare of Rocky Mountain oysters and blood pudding and more. Happily I can now say, “No thanks. Been there, done that,” to some delicacies cooked over an open fire and under ground and hung out to dry because that is how they are prepared.

Once I was at an Italian restaurant where some of those cute little fresh baked loaves of “before the meal” bread were brought out for us diners. I like all “before the meal” bread. This place also set on the table a little bowl of oil with things like stems and seeds floating in it. (For children of the sixties—not those stems and seeds!) Of course being the bumpkin in the crowd I asked what it was. Well it was herb infused warmed olive oil to dip pieces of bread into.

Immediately my mouth got all munched up as all I could think of was dipping bread into a bottle of corn oil and putting it in my mouth. Not appetizing at all. I am me however and I decided I could try a titch. Come on Trina, when in Rome and all I thought, as all the others were tearing, dipping and slurping like this bowl of slippery green oil was a decadent dessert not an appetizer. So I tried it. A tiny piece. Not sure it wasn’t a joke being pulled on me. I mean I went Snipe hunting at midnight – ONCE!!

But you know what? It wasn’t too bad. Like eating those Rocky Mountain oysters. Just do it so you can say you did. You might like something that comes from another country or culture. Alligator, puffer fish, even green bean casserole! The olive oil is an acquired taste though. I ate the rest of my piece of bread as my mother intended fresh bread to be eaten — slathered with just butter. Yep I’m still a cow girl, I prefer butter that comes from a cow above oil squeezed out of olives.

Trina lives in Eureka. Her book They Call Me Weener is available on Amazon.com or get a signed copy by e-mailing her at itybytrina@yahoo.com