What does "A fine kettle of fish" mean in this situation?

This is an excerpt from THE WESTING GAME. It uses the term "fine kettle of fish", but I don't exactly know what it's referring to. Please help me out? :

"Jake snatched the menu from his wife and watched her glide (gracefully, he has to admit) to the reservations desk and whisper in Hoo's ear. (Jimmy, she called him.) 'That's a fine kettle of fish,' he exclaimed, then turned to his dinner companion. 'Fine kettle of fish. I'm so hungry even that sounds good, and from the looks of this menu that's probably what I'll get.'

"'I'm okay,' Turtle replied, the final prices of actively traded stocks tumbling in her ear.

"Mr. Hoo waddled over. 'I recommend the striped bass.'

"'See, what did I tell you, a kettle of fish.'

"Turtle switched off the radio. She has heard enough bad news for one day."

Thanks! :)

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is "an awkward situation" or "a predicament"

    He is saying that he's so hungry he doesn't care if that's what he gets. And then he criticizes the menu by saying that is probably what he'll get no matter what he orders. He stating that the menu does not look good. Then an awkward situation does occur when Mr. Hoo recommends the striped bass.

  • 8 years ago

    It is a play on words.

    A fine kettle of fish can mean a fine mess.

    But you also cook fish in a fish kettle, so it could mean a fish dish on the menu.

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