Fish fingers, the inside story

My how the tables have turned

It's quite exciting really, to think that newspapers in other countries publish articles about stupid things we do. It's like when you pick up a guidebook to the UK in another country and you remember that yes, people do come here on holiday! Or perhaps it's not like that at all, but anyway, this South African newspaper has had a good look at our eating habits.

Now some might read the article and think it paints a narrow, stereotypical view of the British and our culinary traditions. We are now a nation of foodies, don't you know, with truffle risotto and spelt and gluten-free bananas. We don't eat deep-fried Mars Bars any more, actually.

I got quite excited, however, about the development in fish-finger technology the article refers to. I'm being serious. This is pretty big news -- proper, crispy fish fingers! They may mock in South Africa with their Table Mountain and lovely weather, but in fact this is really quite momentous. Unfortunately, the Mail and Guardian seems to find it all rather wryly amusing:

Due in supermarkets next month, Young's Micro Fish Fingers "could be the fast-food breakthrough of the decade", opined the Grocer, the food industry trade journal in Britain.

Oh so now you're mocking our trade magazines, are you?

Before I work myself into a lather, let me leave you with this wonderful fact that ends the piece:

With Britain in recession, the fish finger market has grown 7 per cent in the past year to £131 million, the Grocer reported, citing a Nielsen market study.

That's right, South Africa, we like fish fingers. Crispy ones especially.








Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

Show Hide image

Word of the week: Michellania

Each week The Staggers will pick a new word to describe our uncharted political and socioeconomic territory. 

After brash Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paraded his family at the national convention, the word of the week is:

Michellania (n)

A speech made of words and phrases gathered from different sources, such as Michelle Obama speeches and Rick Astley lyrics.


"I listened hard, but all I heard was michellania."

"Can you really tell the difference between all this michellania?"

"This michellania - you couldn't make it up."

Articles to read if you're sick of michellania:

Do you have a suggestion for next week's word? Share it in the form below.