I do love a good olive oil cake. They can be a little on the “greasy” side since obviously the fat they contain is liquid oil instead of firm butter, but there’s something about that olive oil flavor…well, it gives me that warm fuzzy Old (and I mean Old) World feeling. Olive cultivation is thought to be at minimum 6,000 years old (probably more like 8,000). Since extracting oil from olives requires nothing more than simply pressing the fruit, it’s safe to say that olive oil production has been around about as long.
The Greeks get a lot of the credit for “inventing” olive cultivation and oil making. But as I’ve said before, the reason so many “discoveries” of one sort or another get attributed to the ancient Greeks is because they were so good at writing things down. The Minoans could have invented the Ferrari for all we know, but because they didn’t write down much of anything aside from trade inventories we’d never know it. Thus by default the Greeks get credit for just about everything that happened in Western civilization up until they “arrived” on the scene around 1000 BC.
But where was I now? Oh right, olive oil. Considering that olive oil extraction is at least 6,000 years old and bread making around 12,000 years old, it’s safe to say that somebody somewhere thought to combine the two sometime after about 4,000 BC. Where or when is anybody’s guess, but a coarse-grained bread enriched with olive oil has got to be one of the oldest cakes there is.