The title of this article should actually read ‘How To Eat Olives With Pits’ because pit is the correct term, not pip. Olives with the pits removed are called ‘pitted olives’. They are sometimes stuffed with all sorts of tasty things. If you would like to know more about that, here is an article on how stuffed olives are made.
However, olive connoisseurs know that olives with the pit still inside, offer the best experience in terms of taste and texture. But, eating them is no without its challenges. What is the etiquette around eating table olives? How does one dispose of the pit correctly?
We’ve done the research for you and come up with the comprehensive solution to this problem.
There are 2 scenarios, the first is when the olives are served as snacks. To pick them up, use a toothpick if they have been made available, otherwise fingers is fine. Small olives go into your mouth whole, while big olives can be held on the ends with your thumb and forefinger and the flesh bitten off the olive. If biting the flesh off the olive, the pit remaining between the two fingers can simply be discarded. When eating the olive whole the pit can be gently spat into your palm or the end of your upright fist. For a slightly more sophisticated version, hold your other hand in front of your mouth to hide this spitting activity from view.
Where to discard is always a question. Has a bowl been provided for the olive pits? If not, the side of your own plate is a good option, alternatively they can be stored in your paper napkin for later disposal.
If you are hosting, ensure the bowl you provide for the olive pits does not look the same as the peanut bowls. Otherwise this can lead to some very unpleasant situations! A bowl with a section for the pits built in (see image below) can be a good option.
The 2nd scenario is when the olives form part of a salad which is served a course or side during the meal. In this scenario table etiquette applies. This means the olive should be put into your mouth using the fork. The easiest way to pick it up is to hold the olive down with your knife and then stab it with your fork. Place the olive in your mouth. Table etiquette suggests that anything that comes out of your mouth should do so the same way it went in. In this case the fork should be used to discard the pit. Place one hand in front of your mouth to hide this activity and gently push the pit onto the fork using your tongue.
If this is too challenging for you, revert to spitting the pit onto your hand and discarding it. Again, place your other hand in front of your mouth for that added level of sophistication. Olive pits during the meal should be discarded on the side of the plate that you are currently using or on the side plate.
So there you have it, you have no excuse to avoid those delicious olives now!