A new kettle of fish dating
This pretend dialogue is unusual for the multitude of proverbs and idiomatic phrases that the two knavish masons pitch back and forth in this part of the dialogue—"a Fool's bolt is soon shot," "When Knaves fall out, Honest Men come by their Rights," "a Word to the Wise," "Penny wise and Pound foolish," "putting a Spoke in my Wheel"—but as testimony taken at a trial for adultery adjudicated on December 5, 1738, suggests, "a fine kettle of fish" may not yet have been broadly familiar to English people.
From 'There you have done a fine Piece of Work truly.
A different kettle of fish is an alternative to what has been previously considered; a different thing altogether.
Before we can get to grips with 'a different kettle of fish' we need to know what 'a kettle of fish' is when it isn't different.
From Oliver Optic, "I had almost forgot to mention that brother Joseph had arrived in New York, and telegraphs that he shall be here to-night by the New Haven train." "Just like you! "That everlasting niece of yours is in the way again." "A southerly wind and a cloudy sky" may be a very pleasant theme for fox-hunting squires in dear Old England, but when a man is under a cloud in a foreign country, with a southerly wind in his pockets, and Mary Thompson's mark, " M.
T." on his clothes chest, then it's quite another kettle of fish. The faithful minister, we are told, may always rely on adequate and generous support, and if at any time, ...
For example, we might offer to have a friend stay for a few days but remark that a stay of a few months would be a different kettle of fish.
The expression 'a kettle of fish' means 'a mess'/'a muddle' and is often extended to 'a pretty/nice kettle of fish'.
a fire is kindled, and live salmon thrown into boiling kettles”. The latter means “a situation that is completely different from a previous one”, whilst the former means “to be completely different from something or someone else that has been talked about”. Set a Fish-Kettle on the Fire, with Water enough to boil it, a good Handful of Salt, a Pint of Vinegar, a Bundle of sweet Herbs, and a piece of Horse-raddish; let it boil a Quarter of an Hour, then put in the Head, and when you are sure it is enough, lift up the Fish-Plate with the Fish on it, set it across the Kettle to drain, then lay it in your Dish and lay the Liver on one side.
Garnish with Lemon and Horse-raddish scraped; melt some butter, with a little of the Fish Liquor, and Anchovy, Oysters, or Shrimps, or just what you fancy.
Something like disease there—and a nice variety of it, too! A short time ago I heard one of them preaching in a field before thousands and thousands of people.
A very different kettle of fish, I can tell you, to that which our pulpit droners give us, smothering the people with their scraps of Latin. To judge from Google Books results, "a fine/pretty kettle of fish" (meaning "a muddle") has been idiomatic in English since at least 1738, and "a different/another kettle of fish" (very quickly meaning simply "quite another thing") has been used since at least 1860.
But the legislator is altogether another kettle of fish.