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National Fish and Chip Day

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When you think ‘British food’, there are certain things that are going to jump straight into your mind; buttered crumpets, bangers and mash… and fish and chips.

When I lived in San Diego, there were certain things that I desperately missed about home; a strong cup of tea, a decent rasher of thick bacon, and proper freshly-fried fish and chips. Though there were a couple of fish and chip shops, their food never managed to match up to what I remembered getting from the chip shop on a Friday night, the air redolent with hot oil, salt, and malt vinegar.

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Fish and chips became a popular meal for the British working classes due to the ready availability of fish when trawl fishing in the North Sea was rapidly developing. The first recorded fish and chip shop was opened in 1860 by Joseph Malin in London.

Traditionally, the food was fried in beef dripping or lard, but many chippies now use vegetable oils to cut down on fat content, and to make them edible for vegetarians and people of certain faiths.

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In fact, the National Fish and Chip Day is organized by NEODA (National Edible Oil Distributors Association).

Fish and Chips are seen as a comfort food by many Brits; bringing back memories of passing around the package of chips to share with family and friends, or being the one meal you were allowed to eat with your hands instead of using cutlery. During the First World War, it is believed that fish and chips gave the British soldiers an edge over the Germans, as the British were better fed.

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We Brits eat about 382 million portions of fish and chips every year, and the annual spend on the meal is a whopping £1.2 billion.

For more information on National Fish and Chips Day, visit www.neoda.org.uk/fishandchipday

Food Photographer: Tom Davies, Lead Photographer, Full Steam Pictures.
Written by: Kate Davies, Media Manager, Full Steam Pictures.

Potato Puns are A-Peeling

The humble potato is the world’s most popular vegetable, due to its versatility and ready availability.

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In our house, the one thing that is never empty is the potato bin, and it’s also the only thing that all my kids will agree on eating. For us, there is nothing more comforting than fluffy mashed potatoes, glistening with butter and dotted here and there with crispy sausages, drowning in gravy.

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Potatoes tend to get bad press due to their high carbohydrate content, but potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium and B vitamins. Potato skins are a wonderful source of fiber, and are fat free.

There are more than 4,000 varieties of potato, and each one has its own sugar profile, which makes them good for different things. The best potato for mashing is the Yukon Gold, as it is lower in starch than others, while the best spud for roasting is the Maris Piper, because they tend to be more floury.

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Although it is assumed that potatoes originated in Ireland due to the well-known ‘Irish Potato Famine’, they were first cultivated in Peru around 8,000 to 5,000 B.C. They didn’t gain real popularity in Europe until about 1975 when they started to appear more on the meal tables due to a push for healthy eating.

Interesting fact: The word potato comes from the Spanish word patata.

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Food Photographer: Tom Davies, Lead Photographer, Full Steam Pictures.
Written by: Kate Davies, Media Manager, Full Steam Pictures.