Fish sticks

When I was a kid, fish sticks tasted fishy. But in my adult life fish finger factories forego fishy flavour. Phooey! I can understand why. Sometimes, as a kid, the fishy taste was pretty strong. Good thing we had a lemon tree in the back yard. But they’ve gone too far the other way. Fish sticks don’t taste like anything now. Last night I had some Trader Joe’s fish sticks, and they weren’t even salty.

Have American tastes become such that we (as a whole) don’t want the taste of fish in our (mass-produced, breaded, frozen) fish? What’s the point? Or is just that every brand I try tastes more of bread crumbs than piscatorial provender? Have fishy-tasting frozen fish disappeared? Is there a brand of frozen, breaded fish that strikes a middle ground between overpowering and tasteless?

The ones I get from Schwan’s are pretty good. They do have a lot of breading, but there are chunks of actual fish inside.

I fry them in a bit of oil and salt them while they’re still hot. That seems to make a difference. But you’re right – there’s still not enough fishy taste.

It shouldn’t be too hard to make them at home, from fresh fish, but the real appeal of fish sticks is convenience.

I’m in favor of the change, since I despise fishy flavor, and firmly believe fish sticks are only good as a tartar sauce delivery method. People used to look at me funny when I ate the tartar sauce straight out of the jar with a spoon, so the flavorless fishsticks make a great utensil.

I think fish sticks are primarily cod, which has very little taste when fresh. Fishy tasting fish sticks would be suspect, as that’s the smell/taste that develops when the fish is past its prime. Same for halibut or pollock.

I actually love the fish sticks I can get at Costco, of all places. There’s a high proportion of fish to breading, taste like real fish, they’re not greasy, but nicely crispy when I bake them. I’ve never found another brand as good.

I hated the fishy-tasting fish sticks of yor. Rank fishy constructions from Kindergarden till 6th grade every Friday(stoopid Pope). And about 1/12th as much tartar sauce as you needed to drown out the taste.

Have to agree. I underwent a palate shift from my childhood, like most people. At some point my once beloved fish sticks ( but for some reason not McDonald’s fish fillets, god help me ) became slightly repulsive. Even the fish fillet gets gross when it sits long enough to develop strong “fishyness.”

As an adult in addition to my aversion to freezer-burned fish sticks, I find I generally dislike those, unfortunately healthier, oily fishy-fishes like bonita or mackerel. My preference runs more to firm, white, “clean tasting” fish, like fresh halibut or lingcod. I’m not even a huge fan of salmon, unless it is pretty young and lean. I think one can great-tasting fish, without it necessarily being “flavorless.” Fresh trout is in fact pretty bland IMHO ( though it sure goes down good fried in flour and butter while camping ). Fresh lingcod, cabezone or china cod on the other hand are delicious- without being fishy.

I wonder if on-ship freezing technologies or techniques have improved in the 30 or so years since I was a little boy and remember the fishier-tasting fish sticks.

I’d like to know why they are so darn expensive. The cheapest I’ve seen them here is 2 boxes for $7.00 (18 fishsticks per box).

OK that isn’t a fortune but you can regularly get other frozen food, (like OnCor Sailsbury Steaks 3/$5.00) and so forth.

Is fish THAT expensive?

Reply here from a town next door to the #1 fishing port in the US (for dollar value of its catch)

Fish is not supposed to taste “fishy.” I’m guessing that thirty or forty years ago, it was mostly fish that was not quite fresh enough to sell fresh that ended up getting packed and frozen as fish sticks.

As an aside, virtually none of the fish here is processed and frozen at sea. Fishing trawlers and small boats with small crews. The fish is packed in ice in the hold and landed whole. Filleting is done on land and by hand. That’s why even here fresh cod is $7.99 lb.