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Fish fingers, known as fish sticks in American and Canadian English 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, was the first company to introduce a frozen ready-to-cook fish finger; the product, named Gorton’s Fish Sticks, won the Parents magazine Seal of Approval in 1956.
There was an abundance 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.
In popular culture
- In "The Eleventh Hour", an episode of British television show Doctor Who, The Doctor eats a bowl of fish fingers and custard.
- "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.
- "10 fish sticks zalm", IGLO 27 Juli 2014.
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