Hits and Misses

Hits and Misses

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fish Fingers Come From . . .What?

"Fish fingers" is of course the English term for what Americans call "fish sticks."  The diamond jubilee of the introduction of fish fingers into Great Britain has occasioned a number of off-beat stories in The Guardian and elsewhere.  Introduced in 1955 by Birds Eye, the nearly tasteless fish finger made from cod, pollack, or haddock beat out competing products made from stronger flavored fish like salmon or herring.  (And in the UK, "fish fingers" likewise triumphed over the name I would have preferred, "cod pieces.")  Children, of course, typically love fish fingers and retain a fondness for them.

Recent studies have demonstrated, however, that a significant percentage of primary school children in the UK are more than a little confused about what constitutes a fish finger.  In a study by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) of more than 27,500 children, 18% believed that fish fingers come from chicken.  Other findings from the BNF survey are that 10% of primary school children believe that tomatoes grow underground, while 29% believe that cheese comes from plants.

One would like to hope that enlightenment accompanies additional age, but a survey of 16-24 year-olds by the firm Rouse Honey points in another direction.  One in eight of these 16-24 year-olds think that bees have to be squeezed to produce honey.  One in seven--14%--believe that potatoes grow on trees.  And my favorite finding is that one in five--20%, that's twenty per cent-- of British young adults believe that fish fingers come from the fingers of fish!

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