Of oil and olives and soap
Most families in Salfit not only pickle their own olives and cook with home-grown olive oil, but they make soap from oil left over from the previous season, a process which takes two days. They pour the soap into large molds and then slice it into squares as it cools. The oil in the soap is considered good for the skin. I visited Salfit and came home with a jar of home-pickled green olives, and a block of soap.
Olive oil is sold in Palestine by the tanakeh, on the right, which holds between 15 and 17 kilograms of oil. This year, because the season was light, a tanakeh fetches 70 Jordanian dinars, or about $100 -- twice to three times the normal price. Folks not only eat olive oil with bread and thyme for breakfast, and use it with salads and a variety of other dishes, some drink half a coffee cup of extra virgin every morning. According to tradition, oil strengthens the body and keeps the heart healthy.