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-   -   Olives + pimiento = why? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=255952)

pilot141 05-13-2004 03:25 AM

Olives + pimiento = why?
 
I've done all kinds of searches of the database and Google on this, only to come up with many informative but useless histories of the olive. So.

As I sat here tonight and ate a few very tasty jalapeno-stuffed olives, I started wondering about why they are such a "specialty" food. (Olives stuffed with jalapenos, that is.) How did the pimiento become the de-facto standard stuffing for olives?

Is this simply an Americanism, or does the rest of the world consider pimiento-stuffed olives the standard processed olive?

And how did the lowly pimiento achieve such status? Where would it be without the olive today?

Liberal 05-13-2004 06:53 AM

In pimento cheese sandwiches all over the South. Yummy.

Shrinking Violet 05-13-2004 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pilot141
Is this simply an Americanism, or does the rest of the world consider pimiento-stuffed olives the standard processed olive?

It's pretty standard in the UK, too. Yummm. :)

Paladin_005 05-13-2004 10:57 AM

The word pimiento is spanish for pepper, therefore the combination obviously originated in spain. Why do americans thinks that everything is about them?

bienville 05-13-2004 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paladin_005
Why do americans thinks that everything is about them?

Aw, c'mon. Just the fact that pilot is asking whether or not it is an Americanism shows that he's is not making any assumption on the matter and is interested in hearing from those who might be more broadly familiar with the topic.

He has experienced it in American, that's his starting point on the way to an answer, then he asks if it is standards elsewhere. :smack:

silenus 05-13-2004 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paladin_005
The word pimiento is spanish for pepper, therefore the combination obviously originated in spain. Why do americans thinks that everything is about them?

Or it could have originated in Mexico, Guatamala, Chile, Bolivia, Costa Rica, a myriad other Spanish-speaking countries, or it could have been discovered by a Spanish-speaking Croat, for that matter. I find your automatic condemnation of Americans to be more insulting than the OP was to you. :wally

Colibri 05-13-2004 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pilot141
Is this simply an Americanism, or does the rest of the world consider pimiento-stuffed olives the standard processed olive?

Olives stuffed with pimientos (the most popular brands are imported from Spain) are by far the most standard type of stuffed olive here in Panama.

One can get canned green olives stuffed with garlic (my favorite), anchovy, cheese, and other things, but these are of more limited availability.

FordPrefect 05-13-2004 04:23 PM

Olives + pimiento = why?

It is pretty obvious... while garlic and jalapenos stuff an olive well, there is nothing better than a pimiento to unstuff from the olive with the toothpick, nibble on whilst filling the olive with good gin to commence the slurping. :cool:

The Green Feather 05-13-2004 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Libertarian
In pimento cheese sandwiches all over the South. Yummy.

I've never heard of pimiento cheese. In fact I've never heard of any other uses for pimiento. Was pimiento invented just for olives, and southern sandwiches? Is it used for anything else, ever?

silenus 05-13-2004 05:36 PM

"Since pimentos are sweet and indigenous to the Mediterranean, it's easy to imagine an innovative farmer or chef way back when thinking they would make the perfect neutralizer to the olive's natural acidity."

Well, I have to admit that most of my pimento consumption is in pimento cheese sammiches. But I have seen them used in soups and stews, and I myself have occasionally put them in dips and things like that.

Pimento Cheese Spread

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 4 ounce jar diced pimentos, drained well
1/2 cup mayonnaise may need a little more
Dash of cayenne powder optional
1-2 garlic cloves minced optional

Mix all together until well blended. Serve with crackers or use as a sandwich filling.

Source:
Newsgroups: rec.food.recipes

RiverRunner 05-14-2004 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus
[I
Pimento Cheese Spread

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 4 ounce jar diced pimentos, drained well
1/2 cup mayonnaise may need a little more
Dash of cayenne powder optional
1-2 garlic cloves minced optional

Mix all together until well blended. Serve with crackers or use as a sandwich filling.

Source:
Newsgroups: rec.food.recipes


<Hobbes>Now you've got me all hungry. </Hobbes>


RR

peepthis 05-14-2004 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Green Feather
I've never heard of pimiento cheese. In fact I've never heard of any other uses for pimiento. Was pimiento invented just for olives, and southern sandwiches? Is it used for anything else, ever?

Let us not forget pimento loaf, that questionable lunchmeat you can find next to the bologna in many supermarkets. It's the bane of schoolchildren's lunches everywhere.

daffyduck 05-14-2004 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paladin_005
The word pimiento is spanish for pepper, therefore the combination obviously originated in spain. Why do americans thinks that everything is about them?

Great logic. How do you figure that just because pimento is a Spanish word that the practice of stuffing them in olives is Spanish in origin?

bughunter 05-14-2004 01:06 PM

Well, could it be because green olives stuffed with pimientos are frequently sold in little glass jars with labels bearing the words Spanish Olives?

Just a hunch.

pilot141 05-14-2004 03:51 PM

Thanks for the responses everyone.

But aside from speculation (some of it quite reasonable), we don't have a definitive answer yet.

I was hoping to find something cool like "Nero hated peeling olives and didn't like misshapen ones, so the Spaniards supplying the olives took the nearest thing at hand - the lowly pimiento - and stuck them in Nero's olives. The tradition stuck, as pimiento-stuffed olives became associated with wealth and luxury."

silenus 05-14-2004 04:02 PM

Trajan...not Nero, Trajan.

Balthisar 05-14-2004 10:10 PM

Okay... dare I ask what the hell, exactly, is a pimento? Yeah, I know -- it's the red thing stuff in an olive. I think it comes in certain jars of Cheeze-Whiz. I know that it's closely related to the Spanish word pimiento, which means pepper and not necessarily chile (which is chile or sometimes we gringos spell it chili even though to me the latter is a stew).

Is a pimento a specific type of pepper that's merely called "pimento"? Or can it be any pepper? Or what?

silenus 05-14-2004 10:17 PM

pimiento; pimento A large, red, heart-shaped sweet pepper that measures 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. The flesh of the pimiento (the Spanish word for "pepper") is sweet, succulent and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper... Pimenta dioica

It is a separate species, and quite yummy. :D

pilot141 05-14-2004 11:05 PM

So are both variations on the spelling correct?

Pimento

Pimiento

I've always pronounced it like the first spelling: three syllables: Pim-en-toe

But according to the second spelling (which is the way it's spelled on my high-dollar Safeway Select :dubious: jar of olives) it would be: Pim-eee-en-toe.

Different spellings for the same thing?

And once again, how in the world did they start getting stuffed in olives?

gouda 05-15-2004 03:02 AM

Pimento-stuffed olives are the only kind one can buy here in India (and yeah, most of the time, the label says spanish olives). Which is great, because I love 'em and can go through a jar in one sitting.

Until my brother brought some garlic-stuffed olives back from Europe. One word - heavenly! Pimento stuffing just doesn't match up to garlic stuffing...

pilot141 05-15-2004 03:30 AM

gouda you've hit on the reason why I started this thread!

My revelation was jalapeno-stuffed olives, but I've also enjoyed the garlic-stuffed ones. Oh, yeah.

So, why, oh why are most olives stuffed with pimentos?

Colibri 05-15-2004 02:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pilot141
Thanks for the responses everyone.

But aside from speculation (some of it quite reasonable), we don't have a definitive answer yet.

I was hoping to find something cool like "Nero hated peeling olives and didn't like misshapen ones, so the Spaniards supplying the olives took the nearest thing at hand - the lowly pimiento - and stuck them in Nero's olives. The tradition stuck, as pimiento-stuffed olives became associated with wealth and luxury."

Pimientos come from a variety of red pepper (a mild form of chile pepper), which is ultimately of New World origin. The combination can't have existed before Columbus' voyages.

Green and red peppers are simply varieties of chili peppers that have been bred to lack most capsaicin, the hot element in chilies.

yabob 05-15-2004 03:50 PM

OK, somebody asked this on Google Answers, and there is at least some belief that it goes back to the 18th century in the Provence region of France:

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=46892

Quote:

As early as the 18th century, producers of Picholine olives in
Aix-en-Provence were stoning their olives and replacing the stone with
capers, anchovies, tuna, and pimiento. This was the beginning of the
tradition of stuffing olives, a popular practice still today.
(quote of a quote)

This doesn't address WHY pimento stuffing became the most common, though.

Gotta try some of them anchovy stuffed ones.

silenus 05-15-2004 05:39 PM

Check post #10. :D The stuffings act as a counterbalance to the olive's natural acidity.

I don't think we are ever going to document the "Aha!" moment for stuffed olives, because the Romans were stuffing stuff with stuff since 749BC. Who knows when it first happened. But we now have documentation back to the 18th century at least.

ronenfe 06-26-2016 04:30 PM

I find this whole stuffing thing strange. It's not easy to find just pitted olives without anything stuffed in them.

Why do people need anything in the olive? I tried a lot of the olives with the pimiento and I haven't sensed any taste to the pimientos themselves but I did sense that the olive taste is very weak, probably because of that.

Peremensoe 06-26-2016 04:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ronenfe (Post 19434896)
I find this whole stuffing thing strange. It's not easy to find just pitted olives without anything stuffed in them.

For one thing they spoil faster than either whole or stuffed olives.

beowulff 06-26-2016 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus (Post 4862718)
Check post #10. :D The stuffings act as a counterbalance to the olive's natural acidity.

I don't think we are ever going to document the "Aha!" moment for stuffed olives, because the Romans were stuffing stuff with stuff since 749BC. Who knows when it first happened. But we now have documentation back to the 18th century at least.

OK, this is a response to a Zombie, but:
Olives are not naturally acid.
They are naturally bitter, and its only in the curing and flavoring process that they become acid, and not always then (think: Oil Cured black olives).

Colibri 06-26-2016 05:13 PM

Moved to Cafe Society.

Note that this thread was started in 2004 and is well past it's "Sell by" date.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Nava 06-26-2016 05:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ronenfe (Post 19434896)
I find this whole stuffing thing strange. It's not easy to find just pitted olives without anything stuffed in them.

You're just in the wrong country, they're available pitted and without stuffing in Spain. They're sold in plastic baggies, in cans, or in large plastic bottles which are generally then resold by weight; they last pretty much indefinitely so long as you don't open the container and keep it in a dark place. The most common stuffing here is anchovies, pimiento is probably the second one.

And Colibri, only by 7 years :), the maximum official shelf life for foodstuffs being 5 years by law even if it's not true in practice.

Anny Middon 06-26-2016 05:45 PM

I've long assumed that part of the reason olives are stuffed with pimentos has to do with color. The bright red center provides a pleasing contrast to the dull green of the olive, and there aren't many other foods I can think of that maintain that bright redness when pickled. In fact, the only ones I can think of are also peppers.

Why I wonder are black olives never sold stuffed? I can get green olives stuffed not only with pimentos, but with jalapenos, habaneros, garlic, various cheeses, almonds, and anchovies. I am particularly fond of blue cheese or anchovy ones in my martinis, although the others are nice, too.

silenus 06-26-2016 05:55 PM

Me, either. Plenty of varied stuffings for green olives; none at all for black olives. I mean, I've stuffed some at home, but AFAIK you don't have any commercial ones. I wonder if it might relate to the fact(?) that black olives are somewhat more fragile than green olives.

AM - the wife prefers habanero-stuffed olives in her martinis.

Baron Greenback 06-26-2016 06:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beowulff (Post 19434966)
They are naturally bitter

This needs emphasized quite a bit. On holiday, an olive grove around the idyllic villa you are staying in? Love olives and looking at those olives in the olive grove? Yeah, don't eat them off the tree even if you are heroically drunk. One of the top three worst things I've ever had in my mouth, and one of the others on that list is baby piss.

nearwildheaven 06-26-2016 07:28 PM

I've had habanero-stuffed olives, and yes, I knew what they were stuffed with before I ate them. They lived up to it, believe me.

Purd Werfect 06-26-2016 07:49 PM

Because the shadowy powers that be that make up Big Capsicum say so.

Ukulele Ike 06-26-2016 09:29 PM

Nothing better than an anchovy-stuffed green olive in a perfectly-made dry martini. The salt-on-salt blast is a fine complement to the last sips of icy gin. Blue cheese stuffing is nearly as good, but not quite. The pimiento, it tastes of nothing. Garlic or habanero would overwhelm the delicious booze.

Tim R. Mortiss 06-26-2016 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anny Middon (Post 19435043)
......Why I wonder are black olives never sold stuffed?.....

There used to be a cigar bar on Rush Street called Groucho's, and they sold a delicious vodka martini with black olives, stuffed with salmon mouse. Man those were good. I miss that place.

kaylasdad99 06-26-2016 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yabob (Post 4862355)
OK, somebody asked this on Google Answers, and there is at least some belief that it goes back to the 18th century in the Provence region of France:

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=46892



(quote of a quote)

This doesn't address WHY pimento stuffing became the most common, though.

Gotta try some of them anchovy stuffed ones.

I never thought much about the WHY, but ever since I was a little kid (so let's say for the past 55 years or so), I thought the red-green contrast was pretty.

And now that I DO think about it, I suspect that the aesthetic component might be key.

kaylasdad99 06-26-2016 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike (Post 19435477)
Nothing better than an anchovy-stuffed green olive in a perfectly-made dry martini. The salt-on-salt blast is a fine complement to the last sips of icy gin. Blue cheese stuffing is nearly as good, but not quite. The pimiento, it tastes of nothing. Garlic or habanero would overwhelm the delicious booze.

If my olive is to be stuffed with anything, it must be something that is made out of food. Anchovies don't qualify.

Novelty Bobble 06-27-2016 05:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nava (Post 19434981)
You're just in the wrong country, they're available pitted and without stuffing in Spain. They're sold in plastic baggies, in cans, or in large plastic bottles which are generally then resold by weight; they last pretty much indefinitely so long as you don't open the container and keep it in a dark place. The most common stuffing here is anchovies, pimiento is probably the second one.

And Colibri, only by 7 years :), the maximum official shelf life for foodstuffs being 5 years by law even if it's not true in practice.

In the UK too, most olives are sold unstuffed but of those that are stuffed it is mainly green and the fillings used are the same as mentioned in this thread.

Nebulous. 06-27-2016 05:11 AM

jalapeno-stuffed olives? Count me in! I have never heard of those but I'd probably like them.

panache45 06-27-2016 06:52 AM

Now I've got a craving for a pimento cheese sandwich. Had 'em all the time when I was a kid.

samclem 06-27-2016 07:18 AM

Using my historic newspaper databases, I first find "pimiento stuffed olives" appearing in the U.S. in 1897. The article says "They also sell a new and delicious preparation of pitted olives, stuffed with sweet Spanish pimientos which they call Pimolas."

I have no idea if they existed prior to this in Europe and were imported to the U.S. at this time.

Hypno-Toad 06-27-2016 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by panache45 (Post 19436192)
Now I've got a craving for a pimento cheese sandwich. Had 'em all the time when I was a kid.

Me too. I would especially love a grilled pimento cheese sandwich.

terentii 06-27-2016 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Green Feather (Post 4856034)
I've never heard of pimiento cheese. In fact I've never heard of any other uses for pimiento. Was pimiento invented just for olives, and southern sandwiches? Is it used for anything else, ever?

Whenever I make a tuna casserole or Chicken la King, I always dump in a small jar of pimientos. Deee-licious!

quiltguy 06-27-2016 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anny Middon (Post 19435043)

Why I wonder are black olives never sold stuffed? I can get green olives stuffed not only with pimentos, but with jalapenos, habaneros, garlic, various cheeses, almonds, and anchovies. I am particularly fond of blue cheese or anchovy ones in my martinis, although the others are nice, too.

Black olives require a different processing, part of which is filling up the can(standard black olives are usually not often offered in clear glass containers) with an iron solution, which helps to preserve the color. Imagine a pimento-stuffed olive bobbing around in the stygian depths of a dark-colored liquid? Not too appetizing, IMO.

Pity the poor pimento, though. Olives used to be stuffed with actual pieces of these mild peppers, nowadays many olives are injected with a pepper paste which simplifies production. Gotta' love technology. :rolleyes:

Bryan Ekers 06-27-2016 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pilot141 (Post 4853812)
How did the pimiento become the de-facto standard stuffing for olives?

Well, it used to be the de facto stuffing for watermelon, but pimiento stocks were quickly depleted.

MacLir 06-27-2016 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 (Post 19435640)
If my olive is to be stuffed with anything, it must be something that is made out of food. Anchovies don't qualify.

Actually, this plays to my WAG as to why pimento became the default.

It's the lowest common denominator. All the other stuffings would be objectionable to someone, but pimento is pretty much completely neutral.

I don't particularly care for the blue cheese stuffed ones, and I LIKE blue cheese.

MacLir 06-27-2016 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by panache45 (Post 19436192)
Now I've got a craving for a pimento cheese sandwich. Had 'em all the time when I was a kid.

Out here in the west, good pimento cheese is hard to come by. WallyWorld had some, but then they switched to an inferior brand. :(

I grew up on it, too.

swampspruce 06-27-2016 11:50 AM

I'm a big fan of blue cheese or jalapeno stuffed olives in my martinis. Three of them to be precise. When I was a kid, Dad and I would slice up green olives (with pimento) on toast and cover them liberally with old cheddar, then broil until bubbly as a late night snack. Yum!

silenus 06-27-2016 11:52 AM

Store-bought pimento cheese?

Get a rope.


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