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A Few Words On Lady's Choice Tuna Spread

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"Tuna spread" isn't the most appetizing phrase in the English language, but add "Lady's Choice" to the mix, and you've got a full-scale food naming goof-up on your hands. Lady's Choice Tuna Spread is just one of the many fine American English-challenged products available at the incomparable United Noodles market near Hi-Lake; like its peers, the name is technically accurate, but just slightly askew in terms of context.

Products with not-entirely harmonious names are hardly a one-way street; when titan-sized computer maker Wang tried to sell its machines in Britain with the slogan "Wang Cares," local merchants revolted; say it out loud, and you're hawking your product with the word "Wankers." Oops.

Chalk this sort of thing up to the magic of language. There's explicit meaning, easily explained literal context and then two or three murky layers of regionalisms, innuendos, puns and other meanings that are nigh-untranslatable. In the Phillippines, home to Unilever's Lady's Choice division, there's clearly nothing hinky about Lady's Choice Tuna Spread.

Thus a product that sounds to American ears like a dual-purpose feminine hygiene product / sandwich spread.Moreover, from an American gastronomic context (and totally independent of the funky name), spreadable tuna just feels... a bit wrong. Chunky tuna, sure. Raw tuna on rice, OK, we've got our heads around that at this point. Tuna salad, wherein creamy mayo teams up with Starkist fish bits, no problem. But tuna paste? Aw, man.That said, it's one thing to carp about a crazy foreign product based on a stack of suspicions and prejudices, and another entirely to actually sample it. Lady's Choice Tuna Spread promises "real tuna and a rich blend of spices, giving you an enjoyable meaty sandwich experience bite after bite."The spread itself is surprisingly light in terms of density, and is studded with an assortment of little fruitcake-esque mystery bits that range from red to dark brown to light brown to orange. At this point in the sandwich making process, I am terrified.And then, the moment of truth. Shockingly decent. A bit of vinegar bite, some pimiento kick, a little bit of sweetness, not too much overt fish or tuna taste -- this is like a gourmet flavored mayo. With a slice of Swiss and some turkey, Lady's Choice Tuna Spread would make a dull sandwich sparkle with a bit of kicky Phillippine flavor. It goes to show that you can't judge a tuna spread by its jar.