Olives are at once a mythical food - bringing to mind scenes from Ancient Rome and the Bible - and an everyday one, given the ubiquity of olive oil in contemporary diets. In this original, succinct and engaging history Fabrizia Lanza traces the olive's roots from antiquity, when olive oil was exalted for ritual purposes and used to anoint kings and athletes; to the sixteenth century, when Europeans brought the olive to the New World; to the present day, when the fruit and its oil have successfully conquered our palates, in part thanks to waves of global immigration and the popularity of the healthy Mediterranean Diet. Lanza describes the role that olive trees, olives and their oil have played in myths, legends and literature, as well as in the everyday lives of people throughout the Mediterranean. A global selection of recipes featuring olives and olive oil showcases the fruit's culinary diversity. Featuring a wealth of historical detail, this book will be a popular addition to all food lovers' bookshelves.