It is well established on this blog that the perfect food is ice cream. That stuff is creamy crack in a carton, which is why I no longer keep it in the house unless someone else buys it. Someone who, I must admit, looks exactly like my evil, ice cream-addicted twin.
But there are other foods that run a close second to ice cream, and not all of them are chocolate. In fact, one of those red-ribbon foods may just be the anti-chocolate. Because it's not a dessert. It's a fish. The anchovy. No sugar. Almost no saturated fat. Just salty, protein-filled goodness.
And no one else likes them.
At least that was my impression given how frequently my pleas to order even half an anchovy pizza have fallen on deaf ears. These people, they don't know what they're missing. Anchovies do something amazing to a pizza. They give all that fatty warmth and comfort a bit of a salty edge that makes all the sweetness in the sauce and the cheese not quite so cloying. If you add a veggie or two, it even feels healthy.
Anchovies are awesome. Even if I have to eat them alone.
Except that I don't anymore. Because my San Francisco sweetie - remember him? He likes them, too. We recently had a spot of time together babysitting for a few junior family members, and we ordered a pizza. You'll never guess what was on it. With no prodding, no poking, just a little, "Hey, what would you think of ...?" and an immediate, "Absolutely!"
And then we had them again, not a week later, at a tapas place, wrapped around a little bamboo skewer with a fat, green olive and a tiny, marinated pepper that together made the perfect bite.
He likes them. He really likes them.
And I had no idea. Which is funny. Because I've known this man for two full decades. We've had coq au vin au chocolat and cauliflower goat cheese gratin. Green curry and noodles of the drunks. Coconut cake and fried green tomatoes. Vichysoisse and tapenade. And once, during a blizzard, a heart-warming Irish stew.
And yet, we'd never shared a pizza.
Now we have. And now I know something new about him. I know he likes the salt and the tang and the difference of anchovies. Which is one of the coolest things about dating one of your dearest friends. Sometimes, you get anchovies. And you didn't even know they were there.