It's all Lee's fault! She made a post today all about Fish & Chips! That got me going hungry as I was at the time. Actually when I think about it she was really blethering on about 'fast food' in general and this delicacy came into her thoughts. Reading her post about a variety of 'fast foods,' meant I ran to make myself baked potato and beans in the microwave, which was the fastest I could manage at lunchtime. The chatter about fish and chips filled my little head with memories of the joys they brought. As kids we rarely had such delicacies, it was too expensive for a family of six, and while we often had a bag of chips (3d) when coming home from cub scouts or such like fish and chips from a shop was rare. Mum instead cooking the way mothers ought to cook on the cheap and ensuring we ate properly. Of course the supermarket ready meals did not exist then. As I got older, and richer, I was often out and about, and when following the football on a Saturday the journey home from the delights of Glasgow or Dundee was broken by a stop for beer and fish and chips. When young it was the chip shop often buying chips for the older men, when older the chips were delivered to us, often in the pub. Milnathort and Harthill both had two excellent and well used 'chippies' in those days. The best such feed I ever obtained came from the chippy lying a few yards from the Arbroath football ground. Sadly Google Maps show this grand shop has disappeared. In those far off days the harbour was full of fishing boats and the fish supper was fantastic, I am not sure if this was because of the freshness of the fish or the oil used in cooking but no chips have ever tasted better! The wholeness and nourishment in what in Edinburgh is referred to as a 'fish supper' is proved by the many football teams similarly feed their players this way on the bus journey home. While richer sides fly by chartered airline or dwell in five star hotels the majority have to board the coach for the journey home. Inverness Caledonian certainly do this making use of a regular stop on their way home, possibly alongside the few fans who have followed them on their day out.
The manner of presentation of the delicacy that is a fish supper varies wherever you live. In Edinburgh (pronounced Edinburra), Scotland's Capital City the correct manner is followed. The the fish and chips are wrapped and laid in front of the schoolgirl earning a pittance behind the counter and she will enquire if you wish 'Salt & Sauce' on them, the correct answer being 'yes.' At this point heart attack levels of Salt & Sauce will be sprayed over the meal before it is wrapped and handed to you. The sauce is 'chip shop sauce,' a brown vinegary sauce and one of the worlds greatest delicacies. The EU need to protect this I say. Scotland you will note has the highest rate of heart attacks in the world. I blame smoking and drinking myself. In Glasgow, one of the provincial towns, I believe the heritage of poverty leads them only to offer 'Salt & Vinegar' to heighten eating pleasure, a very poor deal if you ask me. Most shops also have cheap sachets of other condiments, Tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, whisky and the like if that's your pleasure, at a cost however. One Glasgow man allowed into Edinburgh claims racial discrimination because he has to pay for tomato ketchup when refusing brown sauce. He reckons the sachet ought to be free as is the salt & sauce. He is clearly the product of a poor education as he insists on refusing the 'ambrosia' while asking for tomato sauce, tsk!
When I first ventured south I was amazed at the failings of the English chip shop. Not only do they not offer this delicacy on your chips, they just wrap it up and dump it in front of the customer. Once you pay you then have the bother of unwrapping the thing, adding salt and no sauce is on offer! Not only this but the pies are not proper 'mince pies,' instead these strange things come with a tin foil tray and wrapped in paper! Why? Is it not possible to remove the wrapping before cooking? What is wrong with proper service? On top of this crime the chips themselves are foul! Scottish chips have a wonderful soft flavour, in England they all appear stale to me. Where do their chips come from, China? All chip shops here appear the same to me, all chips taste dull. The fish also is different, in Scotland a fish supper means Haddock, down here it is Cod. Judging by the prices when last I looked it must be caught in the Pacific and flown business class to Billingsgate! One of the three chip shops here has a nasty habit of asking what you want, taking your money and then making you wait! Just try that one down by the 'Doocot' on a Friday night pal! The small towns nearby have nothing in the cooker until someone comes in and orders. I have never come across this before. In Halstead there is one small shop where each night a long queue wait mournfully as they cook the dinner slowly, one by one I reckon at the time they take. No fast food there!
I'm hungry again, and being now to close to 16 stone to eat anything much, where's the lettuce....? It's all Lee's fault!