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Pacific Isles Spicy Sauteed Shrimp Fry 

Jay International Foods Company
3172 S. Grand Blvd.

When opening a jar of bottled shellfish, there are certain sights that are sure to give one pause: The cloudy, unblinking eye of a doomed dolphin, say, or the oily remains of a boat propeller. There is, though, one thing that we can now mark off our list of troubling contents — and that's seafood speckled with white spots.

I cannot boast an extensive knowledge of piscine diseases, but I do seem to remember that during my formative years — a good chunk of which was misspent raising and inadvertently slaughtering aquarium fish — there was a particularly disgusting fish disease called, fittingly enough, ick.

Ick wasn't really lethal. It made the fish lethargic, but you'd be lethargic, too, if you had to spend your life in a glass-walled tank with a fake treasure chest as your only amusement. In fact, ick was easy to treat. What's more, it was a cinch to detect: A fish infected by ick developed a sprinkling of white spots all over its body, just like, it turns out, will the contents of a jar of Pacific Isles Spicy Sautéed Shrimp Fry. I never ate one of my ick-infected fish, and I wasn't about to dig into this poop-brown jar of the stuff. But then, as I scrutinized the contents, I noticed a helpful note from the folks at Pacific Isles.

"Note:" read the note, "White spots due to recrystallization of salt & sugar may appear during atmospheric changes. This does not change the good quality of the product. To remove spots, shake well."

Ah, yes. Atmospheric changes.

With ick, I had to treat my fish by pouring allowance-busting drops of oily chemicals into the tank. Not so a jar of Pacific Isles Spicy Sautéed Shrimp Fry. So, stirring the viscous spread of sea monkeys, I expertly dissolved the white spots before scooping a spoonful of the briny gunk into my mouth.

How did it taste? Well, as I bit into the sodium stew, the dollop of shrimp released a full ounce of coconut grease. So that's the key to a fine jar of Pacific Isles Sautéed Shrimp Fry: Macerate the crustaceans in a small body of oil!

What else makes for a winning fry? Well, apparently the bottlers at Pacific Isles feel that unpeeled shrimp lend the dish a certain...rustic depth — either that or the minute shrimp in a jar of Pacific Isles Spicy Sautéed Shrimp Fry are awfully vexing to peel, because the only texture this shrimp lump offered was the unsatisfying snap of 1,000 partially degraded exoskeletons.

I suppose it could have been worse. Those white spots might not have dissolved, or, worse yet, those white spots might have been the dreaded ick. Then again, maybe those spots were ick. I've never tasted ick. At least, I don't think I've ever tasted ick.

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