Tesco Mocks Domestic Abuse to Sell … FISHCAKES!?!?!?

Since January last year, Tesco has been running their ‘Food Love Stories’ campaign where they tell a story every month to accompany a new recipe they are advertising. One popular recipe is Jimmy’s steak for two, a recipe for, you guessed it, steak!

The recipe advertised this month is Jane’s Fish Cakes ‘For Two, Or One’ and, on the face, the recipe seems fairly okay. What has angered many, however, is the so-called love story.

Jane’s boyfriend has done something to upset her, he forgot something to which he apologised for afterwards. However, Jane does not feel that an apology is enough and, when preparing dinner later that night, decides he doesn’t deserve any and deprives him of some. It’s an act of revenge, as Tesco put on the recipe’s website:

Revenge is a dish best served in the form of fishcakes. That’s what Jane thinks when she falls out with her boyfriend. These fishcakes are his favourite so she’s making them for dinner… but only for herself.

If he apologises to her while she’s cooking, though, maybe she’ll turn them into a make-up dinner for two. Maybe…

Despite her stating in the advert he apologised for his forgetfulness, it would appear his apology is not enough and more punishment is required. Another apology is wanted it seems but, as Jane said in the advert “he’s probably suffered enough [implying previous punishment] … no, he hasn’t!” This is not just about the supposed transgression, this is about causing suffering to her partner.

To withhold food on grounds a spouse has ‘misbehaved’ or, as a form of revenge is, by very definition, coercive and controlling behaviour. To quote the 2015 Coercive and Controlling Behaviour Act:

Coercive behaviour is: a continuing act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Such behaviours might include:

  • depriving them of their basic needs;
  • repeatedly putting them down such as telling them they are worthless;
  • enforcing rules and activity which humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim;

This is not an exhaustive list

And, the Domestic Violence and Abuse guidance website states:

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

Perhaps I should do the same whenever my missus forgets something or doesn’t meet my incredibly high standards. Make her favourite food, deprive her of it and then eat both mine and hers in front of her so to exact some petty revenge. Why would anyone ever be upset about that!?

It’s been some tough weeks for Tesco. The pay gap investigation, the so-called sexist trolleys and now, glorifying domestic abuse. Their PR team must be close to breaking point!


  1. I’ve put in a complaint to youtube and tescos( via a facebook) about their promotion of abusive beahviour, don’t expect much though..

  2. Jane’s boyfriend should realise there are plenty more fish cakes in the frozen aisle and dump her. Young women typically can’t cook to save themselves anyway so he’d be better off cooking them himself.


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