Minor British Institutions: Fish fingers

Ah, the British and food. It doesn't much matter what it is, as long as it's inside something: bread, breadcrumbs, batter, pastry, packet. And if it's easy and good for a laugh as well, bingo. Thus the fish finger, the frozen digit stapled into our lives from weaning (unless you're Nigella, who didn't taste one until she was 19).

It was launched by Birds Eye's Great Yarmouth factory in 1955, with the significant slogan, "no bones, no waste, no smell, no fuss". Fingers? Even chocolate ones look more like fingers; the name was chosen by the Great Yarmouth workers, who preferred it, sadly, to Battered Cod Pieces.

We now eat two million of them a day. They are the top dish of Simon Cowell, Freddie Flintoff, Jamie Oliver and Doctor Who (from a pan-galactic choice, obviously). He likes his with custard; Jamie Oliver goes for that ultra-Brit experience, the fish finger sandwich. Great Yarmouth is now pondering a plaque – but why not a Giant Finger on the Prom?