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Olives are served frequently in the Miriam bat Isaac novels. For example, in THE DEADLIEST HATE, Miriam’s second adventure, when she is sailing to Caesarea on the Orion, a portly waiter wheels in a cart bearing a platter of roasted capons and salvers of brined olives, deviled eggs, and melon balls. Once in Caesarea when visiting the owner of a bookshop, she is served a silver tray of Egyptian dates, Damascus figs, olives, barley cakes, filberts, and walnuts along with an amphora of date juice.

Fossil evidence shows that olive trees grew in what is now Italy and the eastern Mediterranean 40 million years ago, but people began cultivating the olive tree about 7000 years ago. Olive pits and fossilized olive wood fragments have been discovered in ancient tombs around the eastern Mediterranean. The trees can live for centuries, even millennia. Their ancient trunks split over the centuries but still produce a harvest of fruit every year.

More likely you’ll read THE DEADLIEST HATE to help Miriam elude Judean terrorists, but along the way, you’re going to need something to munch on, right? When that happens, serve yourself one of the simple delicacies of the time, olives. To learn more about THE DEADLIEST HATE, click here.

(Thanks, Cousin Sari, for the idea behind this blog.)

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