In another thread, @cteavin asked us what recipe we would be remembered for. Mine was a very simple anchovy dip. And it brought back memories. Years ago I worked for a catering company in Reno and our biggest client was United Airlines. We furnished all the food that went on the airplanes. Yes, in those days they actually had real food. Just before Thanksgiving the stewardesses went on strike, the airline shut down and that cut our business by more than half. About three-quarters of the staff was laid off. The manager of the previous restaurant that I had worked for had taken a new job as manager of the Reno Hidden Valley Country Club. He called me and asked if I wouldn't help out through the holidays or at least until the strike was over. I accepted but with much trepidation because the chef had a reputation of being quite unpredictable. In fact he had a reputation of being an SBO. He had a habit of throwing cleavers at people if he got upset. I decided to try it out anyway and just keep my head down.
Imagine my surprise when I met him and Eb was a quiet, docile little Danish man who treated me like his new best friend. The one thing in the kitchen that did seem to irritate him all the time was the meat slicer. It was an old Hobart slicer about 30 years old. It was so old that it was red enamel and anyone that knows Hobarts knows that that they are all beautiful silver machines. However the board refused to buy him a new one and there was nothing he could do about it. His favorite method of washing it was to put it on a cart, roll it to the dishwashing station, and spray it down with the power hose over the drain. One night after a particularly busy night, he rolled it to the station and I looked up just as he picked up the end of the cart and dashed it on to the floor where it broke in about four pieces. He looked and saw that I had seen him. He turned bright red, and muttered something about having to buy a new one, now. At that moment, I realized that he thought that I was a spy for the new manager. When nothing was ever said about it he decided that I was okay and truly became a friend.
That wasn't the end of the story though because the board decided to see if the slicer couldn't be fixed before they bought a new one. Hobart sent a loaner that was a beautiful slicer and he immediately fell in love with it. Unfortunately, four weeks later, back came the old slicer. I think that was the first time I ever saw a grown man sit down on the floor and cry.
One of Eb's idiosyncrasies was that he jealously guarded his cooking recipes and tips. He even had a little kitchen about 8 foot square with a louvered door in front of it that he would go into to mix up his specialties. After the slicer incident, I could ask him anything and I learned more from him than any other chef that I worked for. Back then, canapes where the big thing and he had one spread that was so good and baffled everyone because they could not figure out what was in it. He told me the secret of the spread and I've used it for almost 50 years. I have shared it many times but never while I was in Reno and I never used it in any restaurant where I worked.
So, to make a long story even longer, my favorite quick recipe to take to a party is that anchovy spread or dip.