WARNING! To any anchovy eaters of a squeamish disposition, please stop reading now and come back next week.
Some years ago now I went on a church trip to Peru, and I remember reflecting how chickens being sold in markets actually looked like chickens running around, whereas when chickens are sold in Sainsbury's they're all neatly packaged, so that one can buy, cook and eat one forgetting that this used to be a living creature. Tend to the view that the former is more psychologically healthy, if one is to eat meat, then better to face up to what one is actually doing. On one occasion I expressed this thought in the presence of a former vegetarian colleague thinking that this would establish a bond. Trouble was, she wasn't very happy with my accompanying story of eating dog whilst living in a Bible school in Indonesia (full details on request...)
So, anchovies which get sold as paste or in neat jars or tins were, of course, once swimming the oceans, some off the coast of Zanzibar (yes, several blog entries from my holiday still to go!) Firstly the anchovies are boiled in these huge furnaces:
This picture perhaps gives a better sense of the heat involved:
They're then laid out to dry:
...and this is replicated many times over:
Once dry they're piled up they're ready to be transported for the next stage of processing:
What the price is at this stage I have no idea, I would guess it's a small fraction of the price in supermarkets. I'm sure there are many details I've left out or indeed got wrong, very pleased to hear from anybody who knows more about this than I do. But a good reminder that as well as being a tourist resort, Zanzibar has a number of key industries which help to support a way of life many of us take for granted.
Meanwhile at work: interviews for our new intake start this week, somewhat daunting being in charge of the process which involves 6 centres across 3 countries when I've not been part of it before. Many more very good applications than we have places to offer, so an interesting few weeks ahead!