Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Thirty-Two: Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny

I find it interesting that sometimes, it's the smallest things that are the scariest. Like fish. And I'm not talking about fish you eat, though that's a little scary, too. I mean, I'm a little afraid of fish in general. I've been trying to get over it. I confused a store clerk the other day by standing in front of the fish tanks just staring at the little hoping-to-be-pet fish, the ones with the bulgy eyes, the ones whose spines you can see through their bodies. They kind of freak me out, you know? I know there's glass between us and they aren't going to hurt me, that they probably wouldn't try to hurt me if they had the chance. I know it's irrational, but I'm trying to get over it (thus the fish staring and the confused clerk).

But there's that concept--why should big things be afraid of small things? Why should elephants be afraid of mice? (See video, below--if they aren't afraid, they're at least respectful.)

And why, oh why, should I be afraid of anchovies?

Which is my roundabout way of saying, I had anchovy for lunch. Well, anchovy paste. On a pizza. I'm not brave enough for the fillets yet--I don't think I could make myself bite into one--but I took my little piece of flatbread and spread it with about a teaspoon of anchovy paste. Then on top of that, tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni, garlic, and parmesan cheese. So yeah, I added a lot of extra stuff to my feared food of the day. But I don't feel to bad about it, because I'm taking baby steps, people. Also with my flatbread pizza, I had a little salad with some homemade vinaigrette. Kitchen tip: when your dijon mustard bottle is running low and you can only squeeze out splattery mustard juice, add some oil, vinegar, salt, maybe some dried herbs, and shake it up into a vinagrette. Just make sure to mark the bottle so you don't accidentally drench a sandwich, thinking it's really mustard.

Anyway. As my pizza toasted in the oven, I smelled the fishy, anchovy smell. The fear was palpable. I had already endured its oily pungency while putting my pizza together, and now I was afraid it wouldn't meld with the other flavors; it would overpower them. But by the time I pulled the pizza out of the oven, the smell had dissipated, or else I'd just gotten used to it. And when I bit into my pizza, I discovered that, with the exception of a few spots where the anchovy paste peeked out from under the sauce, the anchovy flavor was an awesome complement to the others, but not fishy at all. Salty, savory. Something I felt I'd tasted before but couldn't really pinpoint. Probably reminiscent of Worcestershire sauce, which contains anchovies, though I didn't know it until about a year ago.

Still, I don't know if I could handle full-on anchovy pizza. My husband likes anchovies on pizza, he says. So at least I'll have support when I try it full-on. I didn't have him to help me today, because he had an important meeting at work (tie and cufflinks important--he looked very dapper this morning) and couldn't come home for lunch. If he were here, my pizza probably would have been slathered in anchovy.


  1. While in Spain, I accidentally ordered fried anchovies. Like whole, eyes-still-intact, bone-in anchovies that were deep fried. Since I didn't speak the language and the menu was all in Spanish, I should have known better. I was horrified when they were set down in front of me. A basket of about 30 anchovies looking up at me. I ate one, because I was in a new country with a new culture, and nearly threw up. Just make sure that they are just the fillets and not the whole thing.

  2. Thanks for the tip! That sounds absolutely terrifying.