Friday, June 7, 2013

The Quintessential Fish And Chips

If you’re looking for the food that can showcase the culture and history of Britain and its domains then look no further than the tasty morsel that is the fish and chips. Tasty it is too with its piping hot and succulent fried fish with its compliment of chips and a side of mushy peas drizzled with vinegar. Eat in that cone made out of newspaper and you have one heck of a cultural food for the ages.

The history of this takeaway food goes back as early as the 17th century but really came to its own during the 19th century. Historians point out that the fried potato – what is known as the chip – was brought to England from the Americas back in the 17th century while fried fish was introduced to London in the early 1890’s.

Now both the fried potato and the fried fish were separate before. History is a bit unclear as to who first decided to put one and two together but whomever it was, the rest of the population agreed that it was indeed a delicious combination and thus the fish and chips combo was born and as they say the rest is now history.

If we’re talking about history then the fish that’s in this combo has historically been either cod or haddock. These fish were plentiful in the North Atlantic and with the advent of steam driven trawlers they were caught in great numbers. At the same time because of the railway system it was possible to bring all those caught fish and distribute it to the rest of the country and beyond.

Of course, it’s not to say that those are the only fish that were used to make the best fish and chips. After all, the domain of the British Empire did not just end in England and Scotland. They also had Ireland and Australia so the fish used had to vary depending on the location as well. This was a reflection of the area where the food was being prepared and cooked as well as the changes in the natural supply.

Pollock ,coley and skate as well as rays were also used and in Northern Ireland it was either cod or whiting. In Australia reef and rock cods were used as well as flake. In New Zealand it was snapper, hoki and even sharks.

But it’s not only in England and its former domains that are enjoying this tasty combination. Proving that good food knows no boundaries fish & chips have become a favorite in the United States and in other countries around the world as well. In the US cod, halibut, flounder and tilapia is used while in Southeast Asia tilapia and even catfish has been deep fried to that nice golden juicy goodness.

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