Stinky Little Fish

I’m not sure what’s up with the salad fixation lately, but…can we talk about anchovies for a minute? I was at a restaurant for lunch today and the waiter had the audacity to ask me if I wanted anchovies on top of my caesar salad.

I declined that offer faster than a postal worker who was offered extra shifts during the Anthrax scare.

I mean, intellectually I know there is some kind of anchovy by-product floating around in my caesar salad dressing. I know that these little fish were once swimming merrily around the Atlantic, caught by a fisherman who very likely enjoys a pint of beer after work in the morning, and shipped to this restaurant where they were ground into a paste (shudder) and mixed with a bunch of stuff to create a delicious dressing. I get that.

What I don’t want, however, is to have to think about that while I’m eating my salad. I don’t want to look into the reproachful eyes of a fish that has gone to join the choir invisible while I’m eating, thanks so much. Ignorance, when it comes to knowing what really goes into the food you eat, really is bliss.

Unfortunately, the people at my table didn’t feel the same way and ordered the salad with anchovy garnish. I had the dubious pleasure of smelling their salads from four feet away. Surely I can’t be the only person in the world to have noticed that anchovies smell like every foul, rotting thing ever dredged from the bottom of all the nasty stale lakes known to man.

In at least one respect I know for a fact that I am alone among many, and that respect is this: I detest the smell of fish. Oooooh, how I loathe it! I don’t mind eating it, if it’s not particularly fragrant, but I rarely (as in maybe twice per year) cook it. The reason? Every time I cook it I am reminded why I never cook it: cooking fish makes the whole house smell like fish.

The number one smell I destest almost more than any other smell in the world is the smell of fish. Hence we come full circle to the reason I was so offended when the waiter offered to garnish my salad with anchovies. He may as well have offered to urinate in it.

Of course, this whole diatribe went through my head in a split-second, but what came out of my mouth was, “No, thanks.” There may have been mayhem in my eyes, however, because he backed away slowly and wouldn’t look at me for the rest of the meal.

Anchovies, indeed!

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