During my preliminary fact-finding to determine if the Eat Local Challenge is actually just a P.C. term for starvation, I stumbled upon another unexpected surprise. Gorton's fish sticks, which are a staple in our freezer, are from Gloucester. Like, I could be there in a half-hour if I left right now, Gloucester.
We love their Original Batter Fish Tenders, with their crispy crust and salty deliciousness. They’re made from real, flaky fillets of fish, which are caught, I imagine, by real Gloucester fishermen in yellow raincoats. Somehow, the fishermen have managed to find a huge hidden population of wild Alaskan pollock right off the coast of Massachusetts. This is good news for me since I’d otherwise have a hard time giving them up come September.
We bought the wrong kind last week. Somehow, we ended up with the regular Gorton’s fish sticks with the ground-up fish that really kind of suck. Anyway, I was reading the back of the box, trying to figure out how to heat up this radically different product, when I came across this serving suggestion:
And I started to lose a little respect for the people at Gorton’s.
There are just so many, many things wrong with this “recipe,” that I really don’t even know where to begin. So, I’ll just start with the salad. What the hell is that salad even doing there? And why aren’t there any step-by-step instructions on how to make it?
There is, however, a very detailed procedure for how to configure these “Fish on a Log,” including how many fish-shaped crackers one should place atop each fish stick, how the processed-cheese-glue should be applied, and what flavor these decorative fish should be. Pizza-flavored. Duh.
It’s a pretty good idea, in general, to steer clear of any recipe that states: “Invert cheese can.” Also, any recipe-developer worth her salt could tell you that cheese, real or otherwise, is the wrong thing for your fish sticks. Mixing up mayonnaise and relish is hard, I’ll admit, so I think ketchup is what you really want. Then, you'll get that much-needed color contrast for your photo (according to one expert shutterbug), which will then enable you to do away with the unnecessary vegetable props.
But, the whole premise of Fish on a Log might be confusing to some. Which part of the meal contains the actual fish? Why are all the fish lying on the log at all? Shouldn’t they be schooling in much larger groups to confuse predators? Did they become trapped in murky sea cheese and die? Maybe, that's why the logs taste like dead fish. But then, why do the fish taste like pizza?
I’m afraid the folks at Gorton’s have provided more questions than answers. Especially when it comes to serving size. The recipe says: Serves 4. But there are only 18 fish sticks. And if I know long division, that means two people get 5 logs and two people only get 4. Or maybe two people get 7, one person gets 4, and the last one to the table gets none, but, at any rate, someone’s getting the shaft. And please, oh god please, can it be me?