Even Einstein Can't Stand This Funky Fish Jerky

Smart Way's dried fish jerky comes in Salmon, Seaweed, and Black Sesame flavors and features the (no doubt unauthorized) image of noted smart guy Albert Einstein right on the front of each bag. We're not sure if that's an endorsement or a prediction.

I noticed the Black Sesame flavored variety just the other day, right here in Toronto, occupying space on the shelves of a nearby Chinese supermarket. A quick 'net search turned up its two partners in food crime – all three can be ordered online from First Shopping, an Australian-based virtual supermarket.

Before you go into full-on “shut up and take my money!” mode, however, let's take a look at what lies behind Ol' Uncle Al's unflattering visage. It's, well, fish jerky: packed 50gm (under 2 oz) per bag. The ingredient list includes fish paste, wheat starch, sugar, gelatin, bonito powder, and just enough feature flavoring to mask the fish paste taste – one would hope.

What's all this got to do with Einstein, you might be wondering, and why use such an unflattering photo of the legendary scientist? Firstly, Smart Way is playing on both their own name and the perception that fish is “brain food”... though this jerky is about as far from actual fish as one can get while still calling it such.

Secondly, the “tongue” photo. Now one of the most iconic images of Einstein, it was taken on the occasion of Einstein's 72nd birthday. Weary from a long evening of celebrations at the Princeton Club, the revered physicist was in no mood to comply when cameraman Arthur Sasse attempted to take one photo too many: Einstein mischievously spoiled the shot by sticking out his tongue.

Doubtless Einstein would be bemused to note the enduring popularity of this “anti-photo”, though knowing it was being used to advertise fish jerky would likely provoke a more disparaging expression. As for the current copyright holder of Einstein's name and associated images, you can't blame them for feeling, er, jerked around: Daejeon (a Korean name) brand Japanese-style fish jerky is apparently made in Taiwan.