Olive Haters: Your “Say No To Olives” T-Shirt has Arrived

In 1996, just as I was finishing high school, I bit into a bagel made with sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Setting aside the fact that I had yet to realize I had a problem with gluten (a problem by the name of “celiac disease“), I hadn’t eaten many olives in my day. My family rarely put them out at mealtime, and I cannot think of a time when they were served or cooked in a dish I ate at home. We were mad for pickles. Specifically Kosher dill pickles, specifically Mrs. Whytes Kosher Dill Pickles because WHY WOULD YOU EAT ANYTHING ELSE. Being Polish my grandmother made her own, but when they were not available, Mrs. Whytes was where the pickles were at. My cousin Alanna once devoured a whole plate of them at a family get-together. She was two. So we didn’t need olives, is what I’m saying. Pickles were what one ate when craving salt.

On that fateful day in 1996 I took a bite of this bagel and spit it out pretty quickly. The problem, it would seem, was the olives. I started asking friends if they liked these small balls of evil and it turned out that olives were fairly divisive. As I said in my FAQs post, no one has borderline feelings about them; you hate olives, or you love them. And in my case, I was clearly in the “hate” category.

As I’ve travelled and written and tried all sorts of different foods around the world, two important things happened:

1) I really still seriously dislike olives. Like, for real. I have had friends trick me by trying to bake them into foods where they won’t be expected and ha ha Jodi spat out the whole thing it worked. I have tried olives around the world, as I’ve said prior, but they are just viscerally so disgusting that I cannot even pretend to swallow them. I’ve tried olives stuffed with meat, cooked, baked, you name it. I’ve tried them in places so renowned for olives that the olive lovers fall silent when I mention my taste tests.


Then, quietly, “So, uh, even those didn’t make the cut?”

No, they didn’t. Nothing has. And let’s be honest, I can’t justifiably spit fire about olives all over the Internet without trying them in new places, because then people will just tell me “oh but did you try GREEK olives? Those are the BEST.”

I’m in Greece now, by the way. If they let me stay in the country once this post is live, I’ll try the olives there, as I always do. It’s not going to be pretty.

2) I’ve discovered that a lot of other people dislike olives too. So heartening! Joining in our olive hate! A quest to rid foods of this scourge of taste! I’ll stop. Basically, thanks for making me feel like less of an albatross. And thanks also for asking for a t-shirt to announce your preferences to the world.

(Of course I love olive oil — it’s fabulous. Just not a fan of the olive in edible form.)

3) I also know how many people LOVE olives, so don’t worry there is the counterpoint in the Great Olive Divide here All of these will be in the new shop that accompanies my site (see below), but I wanted to update the post to make this clear as the pro-olive camp is taking umbrage. I wouldn’t leave out the other part of my readers, but had to launch the one that works best with my tastebuds first ;) And of course as someone who uses olive oil for cooking all the time and washes my face with olive oil in lieu of a cleanser, I benefit from the industry tremendously. I just don’t like the taste of olives.

Say No to Olives
Behold! Women’s anti-olive t-shirt prototype.
Say No To Olives - Men's Shirt
Men’s “Say No To Olives” shirt.

How did this design come about?

A friend in Saigon, a talented illustrator named Maggie, likes olives — but also enjoys a challenge. Despite eating them herself, she was willing to let me hire her to design this t-shirt and go back and forth on what it would look like. Given my aggressive averseness to olives, her sketches started out grim and wonderful, a dark embodiment of my truest of olive feelings.

First this:

Say No to Olives

and then:


Say No to Olives

Unfortunately we thought the barbed wire and blood would be a bit alienating.

And then:
Say No to Olives

The next version was a little more friendly.

Say No to Olives

But the blood was still a bit much.

This version was a bit too cartoony for those who I polled in this process, but I also liked the styling:

Say No to Olives

We settled on something like “angry olive doesn’t like be left out of the taste party”.

Say No to Olives - Final

It was the perfect balance.

You can pick up your t-shirts (men’s and women’s soft cotton, same base t-shirts as the Vietnam maps campaign) here.

“Say No to Olives” Collateral

Because we’re a bunch of nerds, we also made wallpapers available for mobile, iPad, and desktop. Just in case you really wanted to advertise how much you hate olives. They’re available for download (for free) here. If you hover over the file, it shows the device it was designed for in the filename.

Also, the one and only Max also bought me no-olives.com as a t-shirt launch present, which now redirects to the Teespring page. Woohoo!

Back of the t-shirt logo

For all Legal Nomads t-shirts, either hand-drawn maps or this olive shirt, this new Legal Nomads logo with chilli will be somewhere in the design, indicating its provenance without being too aggressive.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Thanks for all the requests for these t-shirts!


28 thoughts on “Olive Haters: Your “Say No To Olives” T-Shirt has Arrived”

  1. Love your blog of course, bought your other shirt, but I cannot condone your persecution of poor, innocent, juicy, delicious olives by buying your shirt. Sorry Jodi.

  2. I’m an olive lover but I still find this to be pretty hilarious. If I hated olives, I’m sure I’d love the shirt! I’m excited to check out the redesign soon. Good luck with it all!

  3. Sorry, I love Olives… especially the Greek Kalamata variety and the Spanish ones, stuffed with Anchovies… yummmie!

    But if you don’t… so this simply means more Olives for me and the other folks who love them ;-)

    1. Hah, thanks! Yes, my friends love olives for the most part and always are happy to eat out with me since they get all the goods :)

      I’ll be launching the pro-olives version later on.

  4. Sorry, Jodi, I love olives so won’t be buying this shirt… :) I like the design though and the new logo looks great! :)

  5. Good tapenade, spread thinly on a slice of baguette, and topped with a slice of gooey brie is a pretty good gateway drug to whole olives. But to be honest, the olives most North Americans grew up with until recently (either the rubbery black “pizza” olives, or the green olives stuffed with pimento illustrated above) are pretty awful, and for a long time I was in your camp.

    1. Justin! Nice to hear from you. I’m always down with trying a new olive dish to see if it changes things. Will take you up on that (minus the baguette) when I’m next in town.

      There is an olive-lovers shirt coming too. I didn’t want to leave out the other section of readers who are passionate about them.

  6. Haha funny t-shirt… but one I cannot condone! Let me throw out another taste challenge for you Jodi…If you are ever in Barcelona go to Tickets restaurant and try their marinated olives. You don’t have to chew them… simply crush them between your tongue and top of your mouth and let the flavours explode. Mmmm just thinking about them makes me wanna visit again!

  7. Please put me on the waiting list for when you debut your “I Hate Bananas” t-shirt. The Freudian implications notwithstanding, I think it’s a texture thing—slimy mush—shudder.

  8. Firmly in the NO OLIVES camp here! So gross. I like everything else that is pickled and briny, just not olives. Bleh. I even make the people at sub shops change their gloves before making my sub so I don’t get any crossover olive taste contamination!

  9. Great shirt design but as a proud olive lover I obviously won’t be buying it. If it was eggplant it would be a different story…

  10. Booo, Hisss!
    This is a site about FOOD and CULTURE and lots of things that are foreign to us. What else are you planning to get rid of and make the world what YOU want?

    1. Hey Scooter, not sure where you’re getting that from this over-the-top post. Surely you don’t think I want to “rid” the world of olives? I use olive oil all the time — why would I do that? It’s a divisive topic (clearly) as people don’t just feel on-the-fence about olives. There will be a pro-olives shirt too in the store, but I had to start with this one, since the olive joke has been going on for years on this site.

      I can’t see where your outrage comes from as there’s nothing indicating I want to dispose the world of people whose tastes differ. It’s a joke, and as you can see from the reader comments above, even those who do like olives haven’t taken umbrage because I don’t.

      1. First let me thank you for sending an email and responding here. I may have struck a nerve and maybe one was struck on me as well. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and I am glad I can voice my opinion about your opinion. I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying about opinions and certain body parts……
        My feeble attempt at levity did not go well. I feel I have a moral obligation to stand up for the olive and all of it’s delicious squishiness!! God save the olives!

        1. Hey Scooter, thanks for the response. If levity was intended, it did not come off that way. As I said, there’s a pro-olive version coming soon, so hopefully that will appease you ;)

  11. As I see many supporters of the olive here, I must in response show my anti-support for the olive. As an epicurean, I must say olives don’t taste right. The same goes for capers.. ughhh.

  12. I attribute my olive hatred to a brief stint working in the kitchen of a Crystal’s Pizza Parlor back in high school. I often got assigned to olive slicing duty, which involved opening and slicing gallon jars of black, pungent olives. I cringe to this day when that smell hits my nose. My poor wife simply can not understand how I don’t like one of her favorite foods. So glad to find my long-lost olive-hating tribe! LOL

  13. Wow, I really hate this.

    Spain has enough problems economically without someone trying to destroy their olive industry – one of the few Spanish industries still doing well.

    I usually agree with most of what you say. But not this. Sorry :(

    1. Hey Michelle, I’m sorry you disliked this post. However, you didn’t see this for what it was: an over-the-top enactment of dialogue in my life. People have strong feelings about olives! Not the olive industry, not olive oil, not olive soap — just the taste of olives. I’ve edited the post to reflect this better – it’s a taste issue, not the trashing of an industry. The say yes to olives shirt is here: https://www.legalnomads.com/yes-to-olives/

  14. I love this times a million and am very much aware you’re not trying to destroy any industry. By the way, I just call olives “poison.” It’s easier – and more accurate

  15. Hi! I hate olives like you do. I even dislike pasta and salads made with strong tasting extra virgin olive oil if the make the dish taste anything like olives. At home I cook with “light” olive oil and at fancier restaurants have to ask them to use very little oil so I will enjoy my sauteed veggies. My question is this: Were you able to eat reasonably easily in Greece? I have been avoiding a trip to Greece my whole life for fear of disliking most of the food or seeming crazy/annoying to wait staff and chefs. I love travel and Greece seems absolutely gorgeous and fun to visit. Thanks for any tip you have to share. -Debra

    1. Hi Debra, yes very reasonably easy, both as a celiac (see legalnomads.com/gluten-free/greece) and an olive-hater. Unlike you, I truly love the taste of olive oil, so I did not restrict myself in this regard. In general, however, veggies and other dishes did not come out awash in oil, and as you’re (I don’t think) celiac, you also have far more to choose from. I don’t think it would be an issue, other than the salads – and you can ask for no olives.

  16. Thanks Jodi!
    I was worried about everything being awash in olive oil so you have calmed my fears.
    May plan a trip next summer!

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