Dipped in Olive Oil

Jun 2018
542
New Hampshire
Cooking with it isn't the same as eating it. To them it would be like draining the oil from your deep fryer and drinking it - barbaric.
Greeks and Romans would have considered it pretty barbaric to dip food in it. To them, olive oil was an industrial product and not food. What would you think about someone who ate soap and covered their food in lamp oil?
That is not true. Olive oil was a staple of the Greek and Roman diets. You must be confusing olive oil with butter which was viewed as barbaric.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Cooking with it isn't the same as eating it. To them it would be like draining the oil from your deep fryer and drinking it - barbaric.
They had different grades, used for different things. The best was for eating, whether dipping bread, part of a sauce, oil for cooking, or just covering a cold salad with. They used it for bathing too, rubbing it into the skin to a lather, then scraping the oil plus dirt and dead skin off with a strigel. It was a known miracle cure for countless ailments drunk. And that was all the higher quality pressing, not the more rancid oil was sold for.

How is this news to you? ...
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
So, I love dipping bread in olive oil with a little herbs. It was something I discovered at an Italian restaurant here in the US, and was surprized to learn that they DON'T do that in Italy (and are usually very annoyed when you expect it). I gather they don't usually serve bread before a meal either. (Though they do sometimes coat bread in olive oil and herbs).

But, I have read that ancient people in Rome did sometimes dip their bread in olive oil. I am trying to find out if they did that in ancient Greece too. I know they had olive oil, and bread and various herbs that would go nicely in it. I know they dipped their bread in wine. I've found some sites saying they did but they are sort of...well, sites that might get it wrong (blogs and such that might not do very good historical research). I'm wondering what other places had this practice of dipping olive oil in bread in ancient times (or even later...like up through the 1600s). I'm involved in living history projects for kids, and mixing olive oil with spices that various places has is a fun activity, but I don't want to be passing on bad information.
Do they also put balsamic vinegar near the olive oil? That's what they did at the Buca di Beppo restaurant when I went there with my family several months ago. :)
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Epityrum album nigrum variumque sic facito. Ex oleis albis nigris variisque nuculeos eicito. Sic condito. Concidito ipsas, addito oleum, acetum, coriandrum, cuminum, feniculum, rutam, mentam. In orculam condito, oleum supra siet. Ita utito./Recipe for a confection of green, ripe, and mottled olives. Remove the stones from green, ripe, and mottled olives, and season as follows: chop the flesh, and add oil, vinegar, coriander, cummin, fennel, rue, and mint. Cover with oil in an earthen dish, and serve.

Cato the Elder, On Agriculture.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Porros maturi fieri: Pugnum salis, aquam et oleum mixtum facies et ibi coques et eximes. Cum oleo, liquamine, mero et inferes./For large, mature leeks: Put a handful of salt into water mixed with olive oil, cook the leeks in this, then remove them. Add olive oil, fish sauce, plain wine and serve them.

Apicius, On the Subject of Cooking
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,158
Portugal
I am pretty sure they eat it that way in Spain for a snack.
Indeed. It was also common in Portugal. Somehow that custom was lost in favour of the butter (real butter, from milk, not the one from peanut), but now, dipping the bread in olive oil with herbs seems to be gaining new adepts, at least in more pretentious restaurants.

If I am not mistaken in Italy they still have that custom.

EDIT: Error edited.
 
Last edited:

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,491
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Indeed. It was also common in Portugal. Somehow that costume was lost in favour of the butter (real butter, from milk, not the one from peanut), but now, dipping tre bread in olive oil with herbs seems to be gaining new adepts, at least in more pretentious restaurants.

If I am not mistaken in Italy they still have that costume.
Custom, not costume. :)

The last time I was served bread this way was on a KLM flight. I didn't know the Dutch did it, but it may have just been them trying to be upmarket.
 
Mar 2019
1,809
KL
i had a moroccan friend who did that as well, probably wide spread in Mediterranean and middle east, arabs also pour olive oil in their food as well

regards
 
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