This article originally appeared on VICE US
My name is Nicholas Gazin and I am VICE's art editor. On top of being addicted to beauty I am also a total eataholic. I've been teaching myself to cook since December and I'm getting really good at it. Cooking food means spending a lot of time trawling the supermarket for food to cook. I start my grocery store visits in the produce aisle at the left of the store and inevitably navigate my grocery cart to the right-most aisle, where the frozen food is kept.
For months, I would peer through the glass freezer doors at the cold cardboard boxes looking furtively at the frozen food like a kid glancing at the dirty magazines at the top of the newsstand rack. Again and again I would gaze upon the frozen delights only to roll my cart to the checkout aisle with my grown-up non-frozen food selections. During a recent and very dark depression I finally acted upon my desire. Frozen food combines two of my favorite things: eating and mysteries. Could the beautiful pictures and alluring cartoon mascots on the boxes be telling the truth about the deliciousness within? I decided that I could no longer let the quandary and icy foods torment me.
I've loaded my grocery cart and freezer and myself with all the highly salted frozen foods that my mother was always responsible enough to keep me away from. I'm now on a sacred quest to taste all frozen foods and to test the truthfulness in their marketing. I've eaten a lot of frozen food in the past month in order to gain frozen wisdom and I can now share that deep knowledge with you. This week, I'm reviewing fish fingers – or "fish sticks" as we call them in America.
Gorton's Fish Sticks
These are made from minced pollock meat, breaded and frozen. After 17 minutes in the oven you get 12 perfect food sticks.
Fish sticks were my favorite food as a four-year-old and now I remember why. Fish sticks are delicious and have lower caloric content than the other frozen foods I've reviewed so far.
I will definitely be sampling more of Gorton's wonderful fish products and incorporating fish sticks into more dishes. I plan to use them as a garnish on salads.
Mrs. Paul's Crunchy Fish Sticks
After falling in food-love with Gorton's fish sticks I was tempted by the fish-fruit of another. I had to know how the competing fish sticks measured up.
Mrs. Paul's Crunchy Fish Sticks' major selling point is that their sticks are sealed inside a plastic pouch within the cardboard box. Their website boasts, "Fresh Taste Sealed in Freshness Pouch." I didn't notice the frozen fish bars tasting noticeably fresher than Gorton's, which just rattle around in their cardboard containers like fishy Good 'N Plenty candies.
Mrs. Paul suggests cooking her fish sticks for a full eight minutes longer than Gorton does, which is probably why her sticks boast of their crunchiness. Gorton's fish sticks have a more consistent shape, so I prefer them.
I seasoned these sticks with cayenne, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Pacific Sustainable Seafood Gluten-Free Fish Sticks
Despite the outside of the box showing a total of seven fish sticks the amount inside totaled only six. The box was $7 [€6]. I paid over a dollar per fish stick and that is some goddamn garbage is what I thought as I shoved the frozen fish bricks into the pre-heated oven. They also fell apart when I attempted to flip them halfway through cooking them.
Despite all these detractors, Pacific's fish sticks are probably the best fish sticks I've eaten all week. The sticks are larger than the competing brands and the fish meat retains some of the texture of its fish flesh. It doesn't feel like it was minced and reconstituted. Its lack of gluten neither helped nor hurt the food.
Despite the superior quality I intend to remain a Gorton's man. They're cheaper and they give you a higher quantity of fish sticks per box. Also I notice that all brands of fish sticks brag how crispy their fish sticks are. Anything you shove into an oven at 475 degrees becomes crispy.
Mrs. Paul's Beer-Battered Fillets
I don't mean to brag but I eat a lot of fish sticks. Fish sticks are made from a weird looking fish called a pollock. One day I would like to meet a live pollock because I'm such a big fan.
These fish things are like giant fish sticks but more like the fried fish that you get in an order of fish and chips. One package will easily feed four lucky people.
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