To be the best, you need the ocean’s hot dog

Fishfinger classic broken 2The American university MIT is ranked at number 1 in the world in engineering and technology, by the Times Higher Education Supplement. They say it is officially the best university in the world at technology. It is also where some of the research that led to the modern fish finger* was done. Coincidence? Probably. I used to really like fish fingers when I was a kid, so I am grateful to MIT.

I learnt this from an interesting article on the development of the fish finger:
The Ocean’s Hot Dog: The Development of the Fish Stick, by Paul Josephson. They were introduced in the 1950s, essentially when large trawlers that could catch large amounts of fish and freeze them were introduced. This introduced the technology needed to mass produce frozen fish.

It took them a while to perfect the freezing technology. Early attempts froze the fish too slowly, which ruined the texture of the fish. If fish freezes slowly then some parts (where the water concentration is higher) freeze first, and then as the water concentration drops there due it freezing, it sucks water in from elsewhere, messing up the fish. These problems were solved, and the fish fingers I loved (with some ketchup of course) as a kid were born. It is an interesting story of how a change in technology has changed what we eat, something we don’t often think about.

I am not sure I have more to say on this, other than the article by Josephson is really interesting, and that you can judge my opinion of university league tables by the fact that I am genuinely more impressed by MIT contributing to some fond childhood memories than by its being at number 1.

* Called fish sticks in North America.

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