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.
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.
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.
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
Photography by Full Steam Pictures.
Written by Kate Davies, Full Steam Pictures Media Manager.