For Maia Hirschbein, olive oil is a vein that runs through all her interests, from food to Judaism. And it all started two years ago in a Tuscan olive grove.
When an olive-oil expert’s mother switched to high-quality extra-virgin olive oil in her cooking, her challah was transformed.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
A student of Chinese medicine celebrates the miracle of the oil without resorting to the deep fryer, instead touting an array of healthful oil options.
A Hannukah without oil would be but a sad celebration of dry doughnuts, tasteless latkes and darkness. Give the gift of olive oil, or an oil cruet or spray.
The miracle of Hanukkah was not, alas, brought about by a latke. The eternal flame, it seems, was kept alive not by everyone’s favorite fried Jewish food, but by olive oil. According to historians, there can be little doubt that the oil used to light the menorah 2,200 years ago was olive oil. In ancient times it was used for everything from lighting to food to cosmetics.
You can hardly call Israeli olive oil a new product — the roots of olive trees in Israel can be tracked back at least 7,000 years, and remnants of olive oil presses dating to the 9th Century B.C.E. have been unearthed. (Olives are also one of the seven species mentioned in Deuteronomy.) But the awareness of Israeli olive oil as a flavorful and refined gourmet ingredient has increased in recent years, as oils from various regions of the country have garnered attention at international olive oil competitions.