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Friday, September 30, 2022
It was wartime and Italy was an enemy country. Shipments of Italian foodstuffs to Canada were strictly forbidden. And among those foods no longer available was olive oil, that precious base for so much Italian cuisine. Kay DeMarco’s family (owners of the DeMarco Groceries) was one of those left without a source of oil so her mother, Anna, had to look elsewhere. She found a connection in Detroit that supplied her with California oil and, with the exchange, she could purchase it for $12 gallon. In 1942 $12 was a lot more money than it is today.

And it wasn’t very good olive oil. It was outlandishly expensive. Anna DeMarco bought it anyway.

After the war ended, Italian olive oil began to trickle back into Canada. The first available shipment was marketed for the ludicrous price of $18 a gallon. She paid it.
To Anna DeMarco, olive oil wasn’t something you just gave up. You don’t just throw in a handy substitute when you’ve been raised on the rich, golden green liquid. If you’re Italian or Greek or Spanish, olive oil is a staple…more than that, it’s an essential like bread or water. Story courtesy Gloria Galloway, the Windsor Star, July 20th, 1988.
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