Olive You, Cours Saleya!

Olive You, Cours Saleya!

No, come on, that was a great title, right? You got it, right? Olive…ilove…

Okay, fine.

I HAVE NEVER BEEN GOOD AT TITLES. My title search process for books is usually this humiliating endless brainstorming period in which I make a list of 5 million titles and every single one provokes this incredulous recoil on the part of my title-tryee-outers. Or, when they’re French, sometimes that Infamous Raised Eyebrow.

Then, if they are my French in-laws, they suggest I go do something useful with my time while I’m throwing out these lame titles, like maybe Iron My Clothes (also my husband’s and my baby’s). This whole clothes-ironing thing is an ISSUE with my in-laws. My mother-in-law irons SOCKS and the STRAPS of bikini underwear and WASHCLOTHS.

My uncle-in-law, after hosting our wedding with its 150 guests sleeping in the attic, said, “Well, washing the sheets after wasn’t the problem. But it took me six months to get them all ironed.

And I felt deeply guilty, but NOT guilty enough to iron sheets. My sheets get stuffed into a ball in my linen closet, and it works very well for me, thank you. No raised eyebrows allowed.

Shirts pretty much get once chance to be pretty and unwrinkled in my house–it’s that first wear after they come from the store. After that, their best hope is that I remember to get them out of the dryer right away. It’s a slim hope, which they gradually lose the longer they spend in my house. Then despair sets in.

Meanwhile, back to the excuse for my post’s lame title:


Look at it. THOSE ARE ALL OLIVES. Different types of olives in bins from beginning to end. I think there are more that the photo doesn’t catch, too. (Also, I BET you are thinking: that baby girl’s mom may not be much for ironing, but she sure does pick cute hats. Aren’t you?)

Meanwhile, it’s about time I told you: Blogging for you all is hard on me.

Really hard.

I have to keep going through these photos and torturing myself. Do you know how many kinds of olives I have never tried before?

Yes, neither did I before I started visiting places like the Cours Saleya market. And then studying the photos afterward to select FOR YOU.


I’m not even a particularly huge fan of olives, but I am culinarily greedy and even what some people might call voracious. So now I feel deprived again.

Meanwhile, I just want to mention the lovely Corine, over at Hidden in France, who is now my new BFF, because she posted a quite lovely tribute to Blame It on Paris.

Our test question now for Corine (a Frenchwoman married to an American, living in LA): What is your stance on ironing?

  • stljoie

    Oh god, many years ago my 1st MIL was the same. All the time bragging about her dutiful ironing…these were the days before permanent press so there was a lot of ironing. One day she was ironing when I arrived and she put a hot iron on her nylon panties which promptly melted..on the iron. It made me sooo happy.

    September 6, 2007 at 2:41 pm
  • I’m sitting here perfectly content with how things are and you remind me I need to be ironing! I never make it to the warm dryer…always the wrinkles to contend with. Olives are just green or black right? In a jar on the fridge door…
    I’ll bet Anthony Bourdain would let you tag along on one of his trips. For your insatiable desire to taste new things!
    We’ll take some life insurance out on you first.

    September 6, 2007 at 2:43 pm
  • Well, Anthony Bourdain goes a little too far sometimes. But not as far as that next guy, the one who eats everything, what’s his name? Resist the impulse to iron, Phyllis, I’ll just feel guilty if you do.

    I think I’m going to blame my iron, stljoie. I like blaming other things. It’s a cheap iron, and I’m sure if I had one of those $500 ones, the ironing would pretty much happen all by itself. That’s what the reviews say, anyway.

    September 6, 2007 at 3:22 pm
  • You lulled me with the funny bits about ironing and then I had to quickly skim through all those olive photos. I abhor olives. They…I can’t even describe how I feel about them. It’s more than that I don’t like them, or that they gross me out. They OFFEND me on some deep, deep level. I’m sorry. Am I still allowed to read your blog? It’s not like I (perish the thought) don’t like CHOCOLATE.

    Another thing I don’t like? Ironing. (I will iron occasionally, though, whereas I try not even to touch olives.) Who cares? Why bother? Think of all the OTHER things we could be doing instead of flattening fabric! And Laura? My sheets are stored EXACTLY like yours, except I can’t quite shut the door of my linen closet anymore because one of the towel hooks fell off the wall about 18 months ago and we use the top of the closet door as a towel hangar and so maybe some of the sheets spill out of the closet onto the floor. Because, obviously, it’s too much to expect anyone to replace a hook in less than two years. Or something.

    September 6, 2007 at 3:47 pm
  • Ironing is highly overrated. Everything returns to wrinkles after about 5 minutes of wear/use anyway…therefore I iron very sporadically. Like when I forgetfully throw certain pants in the dryer and need to iron them to stretch them out so I can zip them:)

    Jeffrey Steingarten is the MAN WHO ATE EVERYTHING. There’s a hilarious story about him and blood sausage in Amanda Hesser’s *Cooking For Mr. Latte.* I know how fond of blood sausage you are, Laura:)

    I once liked olives so much I ate an entire jar at a very young age. And promptly became very sick. And didn’t eat olives again for years. I still don’t like the classic “American” green and black olives (did y’all know that some plain black “American” olives are chemically treated to look black?!? ugh). But ahhh, the nicoise, the kalamata, the various unnamed gorgeous olives in these photos. YUMM.

    Mia’s hat is tres chic, of course!

    September 6, 2007 at 5:18 pm
  • My little one would make herself sick eating her way through that market. She loves olives, as do the rest of us, but I think she definitely has the biggest appetite for them. Anything salty or pickled for that matter. pickled okra is her alltime fav (since she could first gum on the stuff), but, then again, look where she grew up!

    Ironing washcloths? Seriously? People do that??? A cannot tell you the last time I used my iron. I hate ironing like Amy hates olives. Trick for when you don’t take the clothes out of the dryer fast enough: throw the wrinkled stuff (but only the really important dressy stuff, nothing else matters, right?) back in the dryer with a wet towel. And I have a little French in my blood. It’s a dirty Cajun gene pool, but it’s there, and it counts. I guess I just didn’t get the ironing gene.

    September 6, 2007 at 5:35 pm
  • Anne-Gaelle

    Lol…sorry girls but I have to admit my mother can’t stand not ironing the sheets before puting it away!!But don’t worry, even if I often wish I could wear my clothes without any wringles, I don’t have any iron at all…so maybe it’s the solution!!
    Miam miam all these yummy olives…thanx again for the pictures and good idea to explain the title (coz my french brain couldn’t get it at first sight!!) but I have to say it’s a nice play of words, well done!!
    Pretty little hat as well 😉

    September 6, 2007 at 5:59 pm
  • I RARELY iron, and would never even consider ironing sheets. I do my best to take things out of the dryer right away and try the back-in-the-dryer trick if I don’t remember. I will never forget during an Olympics many years ago there was an Up-Close-and-Personal on an American woman who had married a German athlete and she talked about how fulfilled she was staying home and ironing his underwear. I thought that was the biggest waste of time I could imagine.

    Laura, I just finished reading Blame It On Paris. Once again, I stayed up much later than I intended to because I was near the end and did not want to stop there. I’ve been fascinated with France since I was a teenager, but have only visited twice, briefly. I loved learning about French culture through the contrast between your experiences. I’ll be looking forward to your next book.

    By the way, I did not meet ANY rude French people when I was in France. Granted I’ve only spent about 10 days there total, but still. Everyone was helpful and tolerant of my pitiful attempts to speak a little French. One ticket-taker in Nice did get slightly impatient when it took me a while to translate numbers into the right amount, but only slightly, and very understandably.

    And thank you for the effort to blog for us. I’ve particularly enjoyed the pictures from Nice.

    September 6, 2007 at 6:31 pm
  • Sarah

    I don’t even own an iron. Does that mean I win? Anything with a wrinkle gets thrown back in the dryer. When I lived in Edinburgh, we had an iron, but nobody ever used it (and there were a lot of us ignoring the thing). Actually, the only thing it ever got used for, to my knowledge, was to clobber a mouse that was running down our hallway one night. It was awful. I should probably reassure you all that I was NOT involved in the clobbering. Ugh.

    Also, Amy, you are not alone. I am deeply offended by red peppers and, to a slightly, slightly lesser extent, mushrooms.

    September 7, 2007 at 10:03 pm
  • Oh trust me dear girl. Ironing is extremely and utterly ridiculous. You slave away at the ironing board making everything straight and smooth and then you put the frock on and it crushes just giong over your head!

    Blast it all to hell. We send men to the moon and yet cannot fugure out how to make clothes that iron themselves? What on earth is the point of all this technology if it doesn’t do practical things like this?

    Meanwhile, the sacrifice you make for us every single day just blows my mind. I dare not think about it too hard for I fear I shall cry with the sheer selfless thoughtfulness on your part. A million words cannot express to you how much we all appreciate this sacrifice.

    Can I tell you though? I adore olives. I love them so much that I must confess that I would probably pee myself with the excitement of being in this place with so many different, delicious, wonderful olives!

    September 8, 2007 at 2:58 am
  • Do I detect…could it be…the barest smidgen of irony about my sacrifice and your tears, Ann? Surely not…I am probably just over-sensitive. 🙂

    Thank you for reading Blame It on Paris, Minnesota Mom! I’m glad it kept you up at night. 🙂

    Amy, I am fairly sure that my linen closet will also be impossible to shut by the time we are in this house a couple more years. The mess has only begun.

    Michelle, the problem is, I do that trick, and get involved in a chapter or start cooking while the shirt settles into wrinkles again, or even, sometimes, while the dryer is STILL RUNNING, run around frantically looking for a shirt forgetting that I threw it in the dryer.

    More thoughts on ironing, as a result of this unauthorized poll, in the next post! Perhaps I shall even have to share whole dialogues on ironing at some point, because from my in-laws perspective, there are profound joys to ironing that you all have clearly not discovered. And neither have I, but I’m stubborn that way.

    September 8, 2007 at 5:42 am
  • Also someone has mentioned blood sausage on my blog. I think there should be some kind of penalty system for that kind of thing.

    I actually ate it voluntarily the first time. 🙂 I was in Santo Domingo de Silos and ordered it as the local specialty. I think I should have stuck with the Gregorian chants as the local specialty.

    September 8, 2007 at 5:58 am
  • Is that YOUR baby girl in the great straw hat?

    September 8, 2007 at 5:38 pm
  • Hi BFF. here’s my stance on ironing: I’m AGAINST it, that’s what I am!

    I am FOREVER emancipated from the tyranny of the shirt!

    But I must run now as my very French mother is in town, and when I’m around her I regress and iron everything into place, sheets, bra straps, children’s hair, even the cat.

    September 8, 2007 at 6:38 pm

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