Posted by: travelrat | February 21, 2021

Chips

Does anyone make chips any more? Really make them, rather than buy a packet of frozen chips from the supermarket, and heave them into the deep-fat fryer, or the oven. They’re satisfactory, but not quite as good as the ones you get from the ‘chippy’ … or, like Grandma used to make.

While it’s sometimes been described as ‘The Great British Chip’, they actually originated in Belgium. Myth says they were introduced to Britain by soldiers returning from the First World War ,,, but, Harry Ramsden was ‘chippying’ near Bradford in 1912, so I think it’s more probable they were brought over to Yorkshire by Flemish weavers, back in the 19th Century.

The chip is said to have made its appearance when people living near the River Meuse used to deep-fry little fish that they’d caught in the river whole. When the river froze over, and it wasn’t possible to get any fish, they would cut strips of potato into the shape of fish, and cook them instead.

I don’t think, though, that Harry Ramsden would recognise the product sold in the franchise that bears his name. At the ‘original’ Harry Ramsden’s at Guiseley, halfway between Bradford and Leeds, he’d insist he would serve no fish that hadn’t been landed at Grimsby that morning, and his chips must be twice-cooked, and fried in beef fat. Nowadays, of course, vegetable or sunflower oil is normally used … and they didn’t have refrigerated trucks or freezers in those days.

And, my favourite ‘chippy’? That has to be the Endeavour and Resolution, on the quayside at Whitby. In that town, serving bad fish and chips is probably still a capital offence. And, with a fishing boat moored directly on the opposite side of the road, that fish has to be fresh!


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