From The Better Hostess Series: Hors d’Oeuvres & Appetizers, 1978
To be honest it’s hard to even write this post as it brings back such revolting memories, so I am approaching this as really more of a community service announcement to stop other unwitting cooks from going down the same path. (You’re welcome).
The recipe we picked was stuffed apricots, and this was selected on the basis of the picture and the excuse to buy pink food colouring rather than any in-depth analysis of the ingredients.
At the supermarket I had trouble with fresh apricots (what the hell, tinned will be fine) and anchovy essence. I should have been warned off then and there, but instead after wandering around several shops, texting the NZ team for advice (thanks Alice for pointing out that anchovy is in fact already the essence of fish) and muttering, “what the f**k IS anchovy essence anyway?” under my breath several times, I decided to make some from scratch.
After mushing, cooking and straining (yes, straining with a sieve) the anchovies I had to stop for a break to escape the smell. Here I made a list of the top ten things there should not be an essence of:
Number 1: Anchovies
Numbers 2 – 10: Other anchovies.
The stench was horrendous, and the result was a small container full of a black, crumbly, foul smelling substance that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Year 11 drugs education class. Don’t try this at home. No, really.
Undaunted, we took a deep breath (regretted it) and mixed the anchovy essence with cream cheese, mayonnaise and pink food colouring. Yeah, you read that right.
The end result looked like a cross between a Dr Seuss illustration and the sort of poo you can imagine coming from a very sick poodle (if you have a very good but misdirected imagination).
Close up shot, warning you can’t un-see this.
The verdict is below. This was the point in this project where we decided that it was ok to give zero out of five when the smell and taste was so bad it outweighed the effort points.
Alister: Geez I’d love some salmon mousse about now. 0 out of 5 paprika sprinkles.
Anthony: That’s absolutely disgusting. There is no way that can be right? 0 out of 5 paprika sprinkles.
Bridget: I’m not eating that. 0 out of 5 paprika sprinkles.
Sarah: This is hideous. I feel like I should try and describe it for posterity given that surely it never was made and never will be made again. So… imagine if you got cat food, mushed it up with old cheese, blended that with a mango smoothie and then strained it through a sock Meatloaf had worn consistently without washing for a six country concert tour and you would be getting close. 0 out of 5 paprika sprinkles. And that’s only because I can’t give a negative score.
Note: Emma was away for this, thanks to Bridget for stepping in! I think in this case Emma should be thanking us all, dodged a bullet there.