I grew up on Fish and Chips.
It was the staple diet – the weekend feast when I was growing up
None of this four sided – quadrilateral shaped stuff in a box, Neither was it a rounded crispy coated burger – slapped unceremoniously ‘tween two halves of a Seeded Barmcake
No – this was the real thing,
The only dilemma, apart from what fish to have with your chips was whether or not you had Salt and Vinegar on your Chips…if you were lucky the breaded fish soaked it up and gave it that particular flavour.
Feeling brave? then you could ask for Tartar sauce or Lemon on your fish – and Curry with the chips. Traditionalists went for the Mushy peas with a dash of the ‘special’ chip shop vinegar, it had a consistency that when applied it clung onto the chips or the fish
And as for the fish – Cod or Haddock, Breaded or Battered
Breaded was better for you, and the posher chippies threw in the lemon wedge if you ordered it to make it seem posh. However most of the time, the breadcrumbs stayed in the container as the boss at the frying station dipped each bit of ordered fish into the chip shop batter – despite being mightily hot – the fat or oil never really got through this golden layer – leaving the fish cooked and soft inside the special parcel. you could tell by the way the fish curled up at the edges as it dried off under the service hatch
Another dash of salt and vinegar (and perhaps the curry sauce or peas) and it was then wrapped up in greaseproof and newsprint before money changed hands – leave it open and the lucky soul purchasing could eat them on the way home.
Later on they introduced Pies, and Pasties – 2p wooden forks and as new people arrived in town – new cuisines. Fishcakes and Spring Rolls found their way on the menu, and the chippy shared space on the street with Indian and Chinese takeaways.
But Friday Night would always see a line of bodies waiting to be asked
“Do you want peas wi’ your fish love?”