My neighbor returned from a trip to Barcelona without her old purse but with a
can of olives stuffed with anchovies. There's a story there: someone stole her
purse in a Barcelona bar, so she didn't have enough money to bring back a
bottle of wine.
That was fine with me. I've had lots of wine, but I've never had olives with
anchovies in them. I've never been to Spain either; there may be a cause and
effect relationship there. I have been to a few tapas bars, though, so the
taste of olive and anchovies had somewhat familiar overtones.
The most amazing thing about the salty hors d'oeuvres is how they get the
anchovies in the olives. Spanish fishermen have custom-made nets that hold tens
of thousands of olives firmly inserted in the fine mesh. The fleet then trawls
though large schools of anchovies, trapping the tiny fish in the hollowed-out
center of the olives. The olives are then processed in mammoth factory ships,
where automated machinery trims off the anchovies' heads and tails.
Et voilà! The perfect stuffed olive!