Friday, November 11, 2011

Pretty and Ugly: Anchovy Onion Tart

When it comes to writing, one of the things I struggle with most is pretty versus ugly. I want to be honest in my work. But the truth is, it takes skill to produce writing that reveals both the bad and the beautiful. Often it's easier to be glib than it is to invest the time needed to write words that artfully convey the frantic, sugarcoated malaise that is often life.

It's a lot like the conversations most of us have every day:
"How are you?" They ask.
And I say. "Great." "Fine." "Super."

But really, it's always more complicated than that. There are disappointments, and scuffles, and funny things that make me laugh but that nobody else would understand, and stories that are just too long to tell because they require sitting and listening, something we don't do enough of these days.

Already I sound malcontent. But I promise, I'm not. Like everyone, I'm just tired of trying to do it all.  I'm tired of eating out; I'm tired of cooking. I'm tired of laundry and a cluttered house, but who wants to clean up? I'm tired of deadlines and being chained to my computer, and hugely embarrassed that almost every day this week I've worked in my pjs till 3PM.

And so, instead of trying to make it seem like all is easy and perfect in my world, I'm going to be honest. I've been working a lot lately. We've been eating out more than usual, and the rest of the time Sean's been in the kitchen. I've been demoted to breakfast and lunch service (and as we all know, my lunch is usually pretty monastic).

A couple of Sundays ago I did make an onion-anchovy tart. It was inspired by this recipe and article I wrote for FoodShed, but this time, instead of filo, I used the pre-made pizza dough from Whole Foods. You know the stuff -- it costs less than two bucks and all you have to do is plop it on a floured surface, roll it out, spread on the toppings, and bake.

To me, this is the perfect pretty/ugly meal. It isn't exactly a beautiful, but one bite of this intensely savory, salty, and sweet combination will make you realize what a quiet stunner this dish is. It's a meal made for those who feel like they don't have enough time, but it satisfies enough to instantly transport you to Southern France. 

"Hey," you might think. "I really can do it all."

And maybe you can. Or maybe its best if we all (myself included) gave up trying?

You can find the Recipe for Anchovy-Onion Tart here. I made the topping as directed, dumped it onto a pre-made pizza crust that had been rolled to 1/4 inch thickness, and baked it in a hot (400 degree) oven for about 20 minutes.


Megan Gordon said...

Love this post, Anne. Lately, for some reason, my own blog has been wearing on me a little and everything is just seeming like a lot...was thinking of writing an honest post about it and decided to go the Thanksgiving route instead. You've inspired me to show a little "ugly" though. xox.

Sarah (The Yellow House) said...

I love this. Even those things that bring us so much joy can become routine and burdensome, but that's life. I struggle with that. And beyond being delicious, the pissaladiere turns out to be a nice metaphor! I like that :)

abc said...

I like this post a lot. It is not always easy and it is nice to see someone being honest about it.

nicole said...

I'm wondering if this is a fall season/pre-holiday slump, as I'm experiencing it a bit, too ... Can we blame the time change?? But thank you for being honest -- your 'ugly' is not so very ugly, even so. and ps - I worked at home on Friday and didn't change out of my pjs until at least 1pm ... OUR SECRET.

Megan Taylor said...


amelia said...

i know how you feel!! sometimes, I think I could spend the entire day doing chores. oyyyy.