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Monday, October 2, 2023
During wartime Italy was an enemy country and shipments of Italian foodstuffs to Canada were strictly forbidden. Among those foods no longer available was olive oil, that precious base for so much Italian cuisine. Like many others, Kay DeMarco’s family (owners of DeMarco Groceries) were left without their regular source of oil, so Kay's 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 a gallon. In 1942, $12 was a lot more money than it is today.

And it wasn’t very good olive oil. 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 of Gloria Galloway, The Windsor Star, July 20th, 1988)
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