Fish sticks are what happens when you have a lot of fish, not enough fish eaters, and a dash of technology

Have you ever wondered how fish sticks—those battered, deep-fried uniform fingers of fish—came to be so ubiquitous? In a new story, Hakai magazine traces the peculiar history of the peculiar product, which, like so many modern conveniences, is the result of tech advancement and industrialization following the Second World War. As commercial catches grew in size, the seafood industry turned to freezing fish to prevent spoilage. That came with its own issues: Depending on the method, freezing might leave fish mushy, or it would result in a solid block of fillets that were challenging to sell and cook. Enter the mass fish stick production process: Using X-ray machines, saws, and deep-fryers, companies could make bone-free, finger-sized, fried tenders of fish, marketed as an easy and tasty way to consume more seafood. The rest is history.

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