The history of fish and chips

The traditional fish and chips actually originated in England and the first “chippy” (as they are called in England) was opened by a Jewish man by the name of Joseph Malin who immigrated to England in the 1800’s and opened his fish and chip shop in 1860-1865 (records are vague as to exact year) . This being said the Lee family from Manchester also claim the title of first to create the dish.

By the 1930’s there were over 35,000 fish and chip shops and Britain alone!

Fried fish was first brought to England by Western Sephardic Jewsand is considered the model for the fish element of the dish, which ultimately became one of the wonders of the culinary fusions world.

 

Battered fish is first coated in flour then dipped into a batter consisting of flour mixed with liquid, usually water but sometimes beer. Some newer modifications to the recipe may have cornflour added, and instead of beer sometimes soda water is added.In 1860, the first fish and chip shop was opened in London by Joseph Malin, who sold “fish fried in the Jewish fashion”

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In the past 170+ years, many different variations have been created and different frying methods applied. You can get moist, chewy, crispy extra battered, spiced and unspiced. The main fish used for the dish is Cod or Haddock with Cod being the preferred fish in England and Haddock in North America.

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Fish and chips in the UK used to be served in a newspaper wrapped into a conical shape, the practice was stopped in the U.S and then the UK for two reasons, one being the rising cost of newspapers and two being the printing ink was toxic. Up until the 1980’s when a soy-based alternative was introduced, afterward the practice largely disappeared. Although many places now use a styrofoam container, the traditional method is making a big comeback in the UK, utilizing special blank food paper. Some high-end fish and chip shops have even had specialized food safe newspapers made for this purpose.

 

British consumers eat some 382 million portions of fish and chips every year. That’s six servings for every man, woman, and child!

While the dish is enjoyed in almost every nation now the UK population has had it as a staple diet food for almost 100 years. Currently, there are more than 10,500 specialist fish and chip shops in the UK. These dramatically outnumber other fast food outlets: McDonald’s has only 1,200 outlets, Kentucky Fried Chicken 840.

 

Today the traditional dinner and staple food of one nation has blossomed into a global industry worth in excess of $5 billion a year. The fish and chip shop industry in the UK employs around 80,000 people alone. Many fish and chip shops have a food truck extension as well and travel to festivals and events quite far from their base.

During the Second World War Winston Churchill recognised the crucial role of fish and chips, referring to them as ‘good companions’. Fish and chips were two of the few foods not subject to rationing because the government feared the dish was so embedded in the nation’s culture that any limit would damage morale.

The oldest fish and chip shop still in operation is based is in Yeadon near Leeds in the UK. It is called ‘The Oldest Fish & Chip Shop in the World’. It is believed that fish and chips have been served from this “chippy” continually since 1865.

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The world record amount of fish and chip servings sold in one day is 12,406 at Marini’s in Glasgow set in 1999.

The word batter comes from the French word “battre”, which means to beat – in reference to whisking the flour and water together.

The largest portion of fish and chip’s was made by Fish & Chips at London Road in Enfield, London, on July 2012. The massive portion of Halibut and chips weighed in at 47kg.

Atlantic provinces in Canada have always had a deep love of seafood and in the last 50 years, the industry has seen a big spike in new establishments and food trucks getting in on the action.

There are several contests held each year to gauge the best, this coming year we will be attempting to offer and would love your vote 😉

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