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Fish fingers, known as fish sticks in North America and by translations of that name in most other languages, are a processed food made using a whitefish, such as cod, haddock or pollock, which has been battered or breaded.
The term 'Fish Fingers' is first referenced in a recipe given in a British popular magazine in 1900.
The commercialization of fish fingers may be traced to 1953 when the American company Gorton-Pew Fisheries, now known as Gorton's, had been the first company to introduce a frozen ready-to-cook fish finger, named Gorton’s Fish Sticks, which won the Parents Magazine Seal of Approval.
There was a glut of herring in the United Kingdom after World War II. Clarence Birdseye test marketed herring fish fingers, a product he had discovered in the US, under the name 'herring savouries'. These were tested in Southampton and South Wales against 'cod sticks', a comparably bland product used as a control. Shoppers, however, confounded expectations by showing an overwhelming preference for the cod.
The fish used may be either fillets cut to shape or minced/ground fish reformed to shape. Those made entirely from fillets are generally regarded as the higher quality products and will typically have a prominent sign on the box stating that the fish is 100% fillet. Minced fish is more commonly used in store brand economy products. They may have either batter or breadcrumbs around the outside as casing, although the coating is normally breadcrumbs.
- "History of Fish Fingers". Foods of England. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Pacific Fisherman 54 (1956) p. 55.
- Cyril Dixon, "The facts of fish fingers", The Independent, 21 August 1994 (online at Highbeam; subscription required)
- David Hillman and David Gibbs, Century Makers: One hundred clever things we take for granted which have changed our lives over the last one hundred years, London: Weidenfeld, 1998 / New York: Welcome Rain, 1999, ISBN 9781566490009.
- "Teatime staple marks half century ", BBC news, 26 September 2005.
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- How in the World? A Fascinating Journey Through the World of Human Ingenuity, Reader's Digest, 1990, ISBN 0-89577-353-8