Fish and Chips
Fish and chips is the name given to take away food that is associated
with the UK. It consists of fish (typically cod, haddock or plaice) coated
in batter or breadcrumbs and deep fried along with thick slab cut potatoes
which are deep fried as well. This meal originated with the working classes
along with the development of the trawl fishery in the areas along the North Sea
in the 19th century. It was a cheap meal made from products that were
readily available. The fish discarded by the fishermen was sold to the
regular people because there was no market for it. With the
development of rail transportation, this fish could be cheaply
transported to inland areas.
Outlets selling this meal sprang up throughout the United Kingdom as
well as parts of Europe. In England these outlets are called chippies
or the chipshop. Because of the smell of frying grease, it was termed
an offensive trade at one time, but it really increased in popularity
during World War 11 because potatoes and fish were two foods that were
Even though potatoes were not a common vegetable in England until the
17th century, fish and chips have appeared as separate items on
restaurant menus. Charles Dickens mentioned fish and chips in several
of his novels, including Oliver Twist. It is not known when the two
dishes combined to make one but the first recorded fish and chip
outlet was in London in 1860 when Joseph Malin opened his business. In
the North of England, the first shop of this kind was in Mossley,
Lancashire in 1865.
Fish and chips became a common commodity in Scotland in the 1800's as
well with Italian immigrants peddling their wares in the streets. The
Newington district of Edinburgh is said to be the oldest location of
fish and chip shops in Scotland. At first, they were only found in
ports and in the larger cities, but after a time the popularity of
fish and chips spread throughout the country. In Scotland, it is often
called a fish supper.
In Ireland as well, it was the Italian immigrants who brought this
meal to the country, especially after 1945. Because of this many of
the Irish chippies have Roma in front of the name of the business.
Most of the chippies in England and Ireland continue to serve fish and
chips wrapped in paper. In Scotland, the meal is typically served in
polystyrene containers with lids.