Bread and Butter Or…..


Rising Food Prices 

It is not just meat prices that are rising as I reported last week. It is groceries too. Combine this with the rising cost of gasoline and we are in for an expensive and bumpy ride this year and maybe into next year.

The US Department of Agriculture warns that food prices could rise 3.5%, double the rate of inflation, this year.

Some of this would be due to the extreme weather and drought in places such as Australia and Russia. But a lot of it is the rise in meat.

Both WalMart and Wegman’s Food say they are working with suppliers to try and keep costs down.

You can read the entire article by clicking the following link: Food prices could rise.

According to another article, there is also fear that rising food prices and inflation could destabilize developing countries causing food riots across the globe.

In addition to that, CNN reports that, “…in spite of higher planting for corn and soyabeans this spring, grain and oilseed markets were “still forecast to be tight” in 2011-12 due to strong export and biofuel demand.”

In short, less corn = higher prices for all corn related products.

The heavily subsidized ethanol industry’s demand for more corn, currently at about 36% of the total US crop, is rising. This too is contributing to a shortage of corn thereby increasing costs for what is available to eat. You can read the full report on this by clicking the following link: Extreme prices.

What this means for the unemployed, the underemployed, and all the rest of us is that we are going to have to tighten our belts even more than we have during the last two years.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much more to let go or tighten.

Before long we may all have to eat just bread and butter.

Which brings me to the today’s……………………….

Featured Recipe        Tapenade
Is there any food better than bread and butter?

Not according to that great Chef, James Beard, who said:

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

If bread and butter is the greatest, then Tapenade and bread is a close second.

I had black olives in the fridge left over from the Shells with Tuna, Olives and Capers from last Wednesday. So I thought it was a perfect time to share the recipe for Tapenade, so that I could use them up.


Tapenade is a spread or condiment for toast or bread made of finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies, and olive oil. That is the basic recipe.

Some people say that tuna fish was also one of the original ingredients.

It is considered a French food from Provence, or the Provençal area of France, even though capers are native to the Mediterranean area. The recipe is named for the capers even though olives are the main ingredient. Go figure!

According to, it is likely capers, “were brought to Provence from Crete by the Phocaeans, Greeks from Asia Minor, who settled near Marseilles in the sixth century B.C.  

“The caper plant was known as tapeneï in Provençal, and the flower buds, the part of the caper used for culinary purposes, was the tapeno,”  again from

Originally tapenade was made with black olives, but some recipes today call for green olives. I have even seen artichoke, mushroom, or sun-dried tomato tapenade recipes.

It is mainly a spread used on toast or bread. But it has also been used as a filling to stuff a filet of beef or placed under the skin of chicken before roasting. It is also used on fish, vegetables, as a vegetable dip, as a sandwich spread, or on crackers.

I like to use it on a hard boiled egg in the morning for breakfast.

These days’ ingredients other than the main ones above have been added to tapenade recipes. These include garlic, mustard, various herbs, brandy, cognac, wine, and vinegar to name a few.

Before electricity and food processors the paste was made by crushing or pounding the ingredients using a mortar and a pestle.

One of the things I love about cooking is knowing the history of a recipe. I like to know that what I enjoy today was also enjoyed by humans Before Common Era (BCE or BC) or millions of years ago. For me there is a certain comfort in seeing the march of history and knowing that what my ancestors ate, I eat too. I like the beauty and the symmetry of that continuity.

Today I share my version of this classic.

This is what you will need for about 1 cup of Tapenade:

2 cups black olives

2 tablespoons capers drained and rinsed

1 medium clove garlic, cut into small pieces

4 anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar

A pinch or two of dried thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil

Loaf of crusty bread

Here is what you do:

Dump everything into a food processor. I do cut the garlic into 2-3 pieces.

Process stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until ingredients become a coarse paste.

Pour into a bowl. Garnish with green olives.

 Could anything be easier?????

Slice and toast the bread. Top with the tapenade and enjoy. Serving on toast is the traditional way to serve tapenade.

Is Tapenade on toast better than bread and butter?

You decide!

Or serve on crackers, use as a dip for veggies, put some on a baked potato, or use as a sandwich spread.

Or create a new way to use this age old recipe.

Bon Appetit!!!


2 cups black olives               $3.38

2 tablespoons capers           $0.76

1 medium clove garlic          $0.12

4 anchovy fillets                   $0.48

1 tbspn Sherry vinegar         $0.50

A pinch dried thyme             $0.05

1 tablespoon olive oil            $0.12

Loaf of crusty bread             $0.75

Total cost = $6.16
Cost per person = $0.77

Quote of the Day

Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.

Napoleon Hill

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