As such, the British national cuisine is practically non-existent - it has absorbed and combined the features of many other cuisines of the world, and Indian and Chinese are currently favorites. Historically, the diet of the inhabitants of the island consisted of meat, such as beef, lamb, pork, as well as chicken and several types of fish. The traditional British dishes can be attributed perhaps to cakes (for example, with tenderloin and kidneys), which are usually washed down with ale, as well as the Sunday roast - the main dish of Sunday and Christmas dinner. Famous fish-and-chips, the same symbol of Britain as Union Jack or The Beatles, added to this list not so long ago - about 160 years ago. Yes, and then the British favorite fish, fried in batter, and ruddy slices of deep-fried potatoes are not of English origin.
It is believed that for the right to be called the birthplace of "chips", or french fries, two countries are fighting: France and Belgium. According to one of the legends, chips were born at the end of the 17th century thanks to Belgian housewives. In a particularly cold winter, the rivers were so frozen that the fishermen did not bring home any catch. Then one of the ladies invented chop the potatoes in the form of fish and fry it well in oil.
As for the fish in batter, they are believed to have been brought to Britain in the 17th century by Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal. Thomas Jefferson, the future president of the United States, in one of the letters of the end of the 18th century, told how during his visit to London he had the opportunity to taste fish fried "in the Jewish manner." Nevertheless, the dish "did not shoot" until the middle of the 19th century, and until that time remained predominantly the prerogative of migrants. Although in some places the stalls that sold fried fish got accustomed perfectly - good, the British island never lacked the main ingredient.
It is not known exactly who first came up with selling fried fish and potatoes together. North and South are still challenging the primacy. Some are convinced that entrepreneur John Lees was an innovator - he had been selling fish and chips on the market in Lancashire since 1863. Others are convinced that this brilliant idea was first embodied by a Jewish teenager from a migrant family who traded fish and chips in the East End of London. A boy named Joseph Malin, wanting to help the family financially, bought ready-made fish in batter in one of the shops next door, and fried potatoes at home, after which he sold both components as a single dish. Initially, Malin traded with a portable cart, and after that he was able to open his own fish-and-chips shop. It happened somewhere between 1860 and 1863.
Given the low cost of products and their excellent taste compatibility, fish-and-chips quickly gained popularity, they are particularly loved by the working class. The diet of the English poor, scanty and monotonous, replenished with a new dish - affordable and appetizing. The number of chip shops grew rapidly: by 1910 (that is, 50 years after the appearance of the first shop), there were about 25 thousand, and in the late 1920s, about 35 thousand. In line with the fish and potatoes, one of the chip shops in Bradford in 1931 was forced to hire a gatekeeper to control the crowd at the entrance to the rush hours.
Fish and chips for the British were not just one of their favorite dishes - they played a role during both world wars. Under the conditions of food shortages, the authorities made sure that fried fish and potatoes were always on the shelves. The government believed that having a familiar “comfortable” food, which was a symbol of comfort, stability and homeland, would contribute to maintaining the morale of those who remained on the home front. During World War II, Lord Woolton allowed food wagons to transport fish and potatoes to evacuation points. Not just because Winston Churchill called fish and chips "excellent companions."
And although the number of chip shops decreased significantly from the 20s of the previous century (10 thousand for 2009 against 35 thousand at the end of the 1920s), the most popular fast food at the moment are burgers, as well as Indian and Chinese takeaway food, Fish and chips are still in the top of the most popular dishes. According to the Federation for the Trade of Fried Fish and Potatoes, every year, British chip shops sell about 380 million servings, of which about half are fish and chips. 80% of Britons drop in the chip shop at least once a year, and 22% do it every week.
- The telegraph
- The Daily Mail
- Historic UK
- National Federation of Fish Friers
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