Food is a powerful thing. It is so much more than just a combination of ingredients, flavours, aromas, calories and techniques. The food we eat is literally an inseparable part of us. Food is so important to who we are, our culture, and is integral to our concept of home. It can give us a sense of belonging or adventure, it can even be iconic.
The latter can definitely be said of one of my all time favourite things to eat, fish and chips. A much-loved British tradition for Friday nights which I try not to succumb to too regularly. According to a couple of my favourite TV foodies, the Hairy Bikers, an early English cookbook seems to suggest that my favourite deep fried goodness has early influences from the Jewish community of Whitechapel in East London. Lovely stuff.
A delectable feast from my local chippy never fails to cheer me up. The one near me serves generous pieces of fish in a delightfully light and crisp batter. Finding a good local fish and chip shop is a real exercise in trial and error, but once you have one, it’s like a good doctor – you want it to stay in very good health. When I lived in Hamburg, one of my favourite treats was a North German version from Daniel Wischer consisting of fish goujons served with a lovely dollop of Remoulade sauce. A taste of home, with a delicious twist I’d say. Eaten under familiarly grey skies, it went a long way to easing any homesickness.
These days, I’ve taken to eating fish and chips with English mustard alongside some good old malt vinegar. I’m addicted to the bright yellow stuff. I must have good chunky chips, nice and soft on the inside but crispy-ish on the outside. And, why not throw in a battered sausage from time to time too…
A note for any visitors to our shores wanting to sample this wonderful meal, beware, a higher priced fish and chips does not indicate superior quality!