Monday, May 4, 2009

White anchovies of love...

I've been gone for a long time. I know that. I feel bad. In fact, several times I have come back to this page, sincerely looked at the posting box, picked out a topic to write about, but then felt so overwhelmingly guilty about the length of time from my last post I left without writing anything. I have a similar relationship with hairdressers and the dentist. Somehow I always feel I'm going to have to do penance for my absence. So when my dear friend poked me about writing again, after I had been tossing around the idea of writing in my head again, I thought I would just plunge right in and do the Hail Marys (or is that Maries?).

I love anchovies. When I was a kid, my family would pile into the car and drive up to Michigan to visit my father's family. My dad was one of six kids. His oldest brother (whom I was named after) was over 20 years older than him (this thought makes my uterus cringe into a little ball). When we would arrive, all the crazy brothers and sisters and their kids would come over to my grandmother's house and they would laugh and talk and be loud and play cards, and drink tea and eat eggs, and, at a very late hour of the evening, order a pizza with everything, including ANCHOVIES. I remember sneaking down to eat a slice of pizza and the anchovies tasted like forbidden salty fruit. And I would then have to run up the scary stairs, past the boarded up butler pantry in the dark because my grandmother didn't believe in anything more than 40 watt bulbs in the house.

I distinctly remember my first white anchovy - it was at a restaurant in Columbus called Spagio on a ceasar salad about 8 years ago. It was nothing like I had ever tried before. They are not salty. They aren't "hairy." The flesh is firm and vinagar-y because they have been preserved in oil and vinegar rather than salt. The color is white. They are beautiful and tasty and I challenge anyone who does not like anchovies to try them at least once (as I did at my friend's house this weekend).

Alas, in this area, they are difficult to find. And they are expensive. Mr. H ordered me two bottles from Parthenon Foods and they are really lovely. I like them better than the last brand I had (don't ask me what they were). Shipping is what really kills you, although it's still cheaper than a two hour drive to a city that does have the little gems.

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