Open Letter to the Picture of the Tomato and Cucumber Salad on my Box of Frozen Breaded Fish Fillets
What are you doing?
Okay, I can see what you’re doing — lying casually in the background of a picture of breaded fish.
The question is *why*? You make zero sense in this context.
Yet there you are, perched atop those breaded fish fillets like a Carmen Miranda hat.
“New Look!” says the box.
Now with implied salad, says the picture.
I know you’re not inside this box in a separate little baggie nestled amongst the fish fillets. So, why are you on this box?
Do you believe that because the box shows these fish fillets as “vegetable-adjacent” people will think they are healthier, or “health-adjacent”?
I sat next to a tomato on a bus once. I did not feel healthier.
Did the artistic director think the shot needed more color, because a background of mountainous blue ocean breakers wasn’t enough to offset the bland brown-and-white hue of the fish? Or was he afraid that those tsunami-sized waves might frighten the consumer so that calming vegetables were needed?
Are you some kind of subtext woo-woo?
“Made with real potatoes,” says the box.
Dehydrated potatoes, admits the ingredients list.
Potatoes are a vegetable. Why would I need even more vegetables?
Are you a suggestion, then? A serving suggestion? A slice or two of red onion, two(!) different varieties of tomatoes, and chopped cucumber. This salad knows someone with a very sharp knife. Are you threatening me, salad?
Or are you suggesting I should eat healthier? Are you implying that I need to eat more fiber?
How dare you?
How dare you?
You’re not wearing any dressing either. Who eats a naked salad? Only a health nut.
I am not a health nut. I doubt there are many health nuts who buy frozen fish fillets. I suspect the true health nuts catch their own vegan, gluten-free fish and eat them straight off the hook.
“Fresh is Best!” they say.
And who am I to argue?
I’ll tell you who.
I am someone who is hoping to enjoy a frozen fish fillet in approximately 21 to 23 minutes.
When I eat a fish fillet, I want to be taken back to my childhood days at the Welsh seaside eating chunks of British-style fish dripping with grease and wrapped in newspaper, while listening to the jealous catcalls of the seagulls.
This is not a mindset that’s compatible with salad.
If you ask for salad at a fish stand on the Welsh coast, you’ll be asked to leave the fish stand. You may have chips with your fish. Brown sauce? Yes, you may have brown sauce. In this world, brown sauce is considered a vegetable.
This is neither the time, nor the place for cucumbers.
You’re like a cowpat in the middle of a picnic, salad.
Read the room.
You’re not wanted here.
You look ridiculous.
Consider firing whoever writes your stage directions.
And, seriously, go away.
Yours (and I don’t mean that literally),