Several weeks ago some dear friends took us to a wonderful place that is all about food from Italy. Eataly, a little play on word(s) there, consists of a market, restaurants and a cooking school. The design of the space is engaging and welcoming even though it is wall-to-wall people at all hours of operation. Since the moment we left Eataly, I wanted to return to purchase olive oil but in true New York City fashion, Marty and I only leave our invisibly barricaded 4-block radius if we have something specific to do. Returning to Eataly nagged at me because it has an olive oil section that is to "die for". Hundreds of bottles line the shelves, all imported from different regions of Italy; overhead is signage that brags of olive oil from Liguria, Sicily, Tuscany and more. Since yesterday I was venturing out to an appointment in SoHo, I decided to stop in to purchase a bottle of olive oil.
I entered the store and made a beeline for the olive oil section. I was on a mission and would not be deterred. Finally, after block checking a man and his wife who thought I had all day for them to stare at the veal cutlets in the meat case, I am standing before all the beautiful bottles of olive oil. I started to read the artfully displayed product copy above each section of oil. Some oils were described as fruity while others were praised for a hint of hot spice. Still others talked of the slight artichoke flavor that lingered in the oil.
I won't tell you I started to sweat as the first wave of panic came over me but I was mighty uncomfortable. I felt like I was standing in a liquor store looking at the wine section, a place that makes me feel uneducated and until recently unsophisticated. I am no longer unsophisticated because I developed a "wine standard"; I buy wine based on how much I like the label. So here I am reading vocabulary that sounds a lot like it is describing wine but it is olive oil. I had no idea what to purchase. The truth of the matter is I wanted a good bottle of olive oil but I wasn't prepared to be shopping in a store that discusses the soil, climate and processing when it comes to olive oil and my label standard wasn't cutting it.
Finally, I purchased two yummy sounding bottles of olive oil and headed home. Leaving, I thought about my "blind" purchases and what it really meant. It's fun to sometimes blindly try something new, particularly something safe as commercial olive oil. But on the other hand, I felt I was unprepared to take full advantage of the selection before me. I hadn't done my research; I just didn't know enough. My olive oil adventure is amusing but how many times in life have you said, "If I knew then what I know now, I would've done it differently". As we age, our life experiences allows us to see other avenues but at any age, taking the time to learn about a subject and then think about what is important to you can lead to a more positive experience. Slow down and take the time to think about what you are doing and why...you just might enjoy it more.