The events described herein took place some Friday a couple of weeks ago, maybe 3 October. I've been telling this story a lot recently because it tends to go over pretty well, and I had a dream about telling it last night -- though for some reason I said 'keta salmon' instead of 'Arctic char' in the dream; I instantly knew that was wrong but couldn't find the right term -- so now I'm telling you lot, because I haven't met my quota for this week. I don't think this is the right medium for it, or anyway, I haven't figured out how to make it work in this medium: this is droll, but, for example, when I told this story to my sister in person, she laughed so hard I was afraid she was going to drive us off the road.
We catered a large event recently, a funeral with some three hundred attendees. Among other things, they had ordered two poached salmon platters. These platters call for one whole salmon each, head, tail and all. I ordered them a couple of days early to give myself some contingency time, and to my not very great surprise the salmon arrived without heads or tails. Apparently the seafood warehouse was out of head-on salmon altogether. As a compromise, they offered to send us two head-off, tail-on salmon, and four fish-heads: two grouper and two arctic char.
Groupers have wide, fleshy, almost froglike heads, totally unlike the hard silvery heads of salmon. Arctic char are closely related to salmon and very similar in appearance and even flavor -- but for the purposes of the food industry, they run about half the size. So, our options were to court the anger of God with hideous mismatched Frankenfish, or to present the customer with fish visibly having only half the intelligence of normal salmon.
The actual solution to this problem was to send Underboss #1 down to the local fish market to buy a couple of salmon heads; we can't technically sell product from there, but no one was going to be actually eating the damn things, and we were backed into a corner. Meanwhile, my suggestions that we attach both bodies to a pig's head with an apple in the mouth, or put both char heads on a single body and tell the customer it was a good omen, went unacknowledged.