Seven Thousand Years Old Olive Groves 

Tapenade is an olive-based, flavorful spread or dipping sauce that originated in the Provence region in France, where olive groves are abundant.  Olives are one of the oldest foods. Archeologists excavated charred remains of an olive orchard in Palestine that was in production seven thousand years ago. Olives are delicious, plain, or stuffed. My favorite way to eat olives is when they are stuffed with almonds. They can also be made into an easy tapenade. The star ingredient in this dish is the salty-savory flavor of the capers and anchovies. Give them a try — they are healthy and so delicious! Tapenade is often added to lamb before baking to mellow its flavor.  

Healthy Fats

Science already replaced the “low-fat diet” of the 90s with “healthy fat diet” recommendations. Our bodies need healthy oils for our heart and brain health (our brain is made up of 60 percent fat), and emerging research highlights that decades of recommending low-fat diets may have contributed to an increase in dementia in the aging population. The natural chemicals in olive oil help our bodies absorb more of the nutrients in leafy greens. So making your own olive oil salad dressing, in turn, makes your salad healthier for you than if you were to use store-bought dressing (which contains mostly soybean oil). You can read a healthy and nutritious compilation of olive oils vs other oils here. Nutritionists recommend consuming two tablespoons of olive oil every day. Mediterranean countries consume more than eight gallons per person per year. 

Give Anchovies a Chance

The Cleveland Clinic states that anchovies are one of the healthiest fish to eat. Anchovies are also packed with the mysterious umami flavor, giving many dishes a finishing touch. Although they are very small, they contain a large amount of Omega-3 fatty acids and have the lowest amount of mercury of all fish. You can find a list of recommended healthy fish here and learn more about endangered and overfished varieties here.  

What are Capers?

Tapena is the Provençal word for capers – large berries of the Capparis Spinose bush of the Mediterranean region. The buds are hand-picked and cured in vinegar and brine. They give a distinctive lemony flavor to many dishes. Capers are very salty, so a few Capers go a long way.   They are cultivated mainly in Sicily, Morocco, and Spain. First mentioned as a food 2,000 B.C.E. in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, capers are part of a healthy Mediterranean diet and are classified as one of the “superfoods.” Capers are inexpensive and available in small jars in your local grocery store. They can be found in many classic dishes such as Italian Chicken and Veal Piccata or Spaghetti Puttanesca and French Salade Niçoise. Explore other recipes here and here.  

Olive tapenade in a bowl


Magda Born
Tapenade is an olive-based, flavorful spread or adipping sauce, that originated in the Provence region in France, where olivesgroves are abundant. 


  • 1 c Mixed pitted olives
  • 3 Tbs Drained capers
  • 3 pieces Anchovy fillets
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ½ c Quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Note: If you are not a fan of anchovies add just one, but do not omit them. They are what makes this dish special.


  • Gather ingredients.
    Ingredients for tapenade on a countertop.
  • Place all ingredients except olive oil into a blender, and mix until a smooth paste is made.
    Olive in a food processor
  • Slowly pour in the olive oil until well blended and a slightly runny paste is achieved.
    Blended tapenade in a food processor
  • When it is too hot to cook, serve tapenade with crackers or toasted bread or with other sides as an appetizer.
    Tapenade on a plate, served with crackers, beets and cheese.



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Magda Born

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave. Kansas City, Kansas 66101      

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