The Things We Do Not Ask: The Things We Let Slip By


When I was a boy my mother bought Finnan Haddock. I never thought to ask her where exactly the name came from. Today Tamara asked, and I looked it up and found this in Wikipedia:

Finnan haddie (also known as Finnan haddock, Finnan, Finny haddock or Findrum speldings) is cold-smoked haddock, representative of a regional method of smoking with green wood and peat in north-east Scotland. Its origin is the subject of a debate, as some sources attribute the origin to the hamlet of Findon, Aberdeenshire, (also sometimes called Finnan) near Aberdeen, while others insist that the name is a corruption of the village name of Findhorn at the mouth of the River Findhorn in Moray. The ‘dispute’ goes back to the eighteenth century, although it is hard to trace, as adherents fail to acknowledge even the possibility of the alternative view (except for the etymology note in the Oxford English Dictionary). A testimonial in an early 20th century Boston cookbook describes the origin from a fire in a fish curing house in Portlethen, very near Findon. It may have been a popular dish in Aberdeenshire since at least as early as the 1640s.