FISH AND CHIPS - A HISTORY
But where did this famous culinary delight originate?
The simple answer is that no-one really knows.
We do know that fish and chips developed separately- the French invented chips or 'chipped pommes de terrre a la mode' (from the humble potato commonly believed to have been brought to Europe by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 17th Century) and in 1839 Charles Dickens referred to a 'fried fish warehouse' in Oliver Twist. The great British fish and chip trade grew out of these existing small businesses which sold fish and chips separately in the streets and alleys of London and some of Britain's industrial town, in the 1850s.
Both, Lancashire and London stake a claim to the origin of our most famous meal - chips were the standard fare of the industrial north whilst fried fish was introduced in London's East End.
A Marriage of Taste
The public soon realised that fish and potatoes ware rather a tasty combination and over the course of the next 100 years, fish and chips became not only a national institution but a vital source of nutrition for families - helping to fuel the workforce of the industrial revolution
Long Live the Fish and Chip Shop
Along with the history of fish and chips comes the colourful history of the fish and chip shop. The first fish and chip shop in the North of England is thought to hove opened in Mossley near Oldham, Lancashire, around 1863. Mr Lees sold fish and chips from a wooden hut in the market and later he transferred the business to a permanent shop across the road which had the following inscription in the window "This is the first fish and chip shop in the world." But in London, Joseph Malin opened a fish end chip shop in Cleveland Street within the sound of Bow Bells 13 in 1860. There are now around 8,100 fish and chip shops across the UK that, eight for every one McDonalds outlet.
Fish and Chip Shops Come Out Tops
Fish and chips became so essential to the diet of the ordinary man and woman that one shop in Bradford had to employ a doorman to control the queue at busy times during 1931.
THE NATION'S FAVOURITE
Thanks be to Cod
However the dish originated, fish and chips is a national favourite, eaten and loved by every generation, - in fact its position as the nations favourite hot take away remains unchallenged, despite the advent of the American burger bar.
The nations favourite fish is cod. followed by haddock, although there are regional variations. For example whiting is popular in Northern Ireland and some parts of Scotland and skate and huss are often seen In the south of England
In 1999 the British consumed nearly 300 million servings of fish and chips - that equates to six servings for every man woman and child in the country. Over 4,000 is the record for the largest number of portions sold in one day by an independent fish and chip shop.
Fish and chips have never been more fashionable. London restaurants such as Sir Terence Conran's Le Pont de la Tour and Elisabeth Taylor's favourite, The Dorchester, feature this great British dish on their menus.
Despite the versatility of the chip, fish is far and away our favourite accompaniment for this form of the humble Potato.
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