The final word on fish and chips
And it's hard, for two reasons:
I have an emotional attachment to fish and chips
It's not just a meal in isolation: it means driving to the seaside (Seaton mostly) with my parents and sitting in the car, eating chips, and watching the rough, gray waves of the North Sea. It means walking to the chip shop on a Friday night to get fish-and-chips-three-times-and-a-pineapple-ring (my favorite), and then running home with a warm bundle wrapped in newspaper. It means schoolyard discussions on the subject of scraps, and whether they were necessary. It's Proustian, but with more malt vinegar.
The basic description sounds gross
It's true. Deep-fried fish in batter, served with fat chips that are best if there's no crunch, no hard bits, just a pale, soft wedge of potato, all sitting on a piece of wax paper turned translucent from the grease. Yum? No.
Luckily, the Guardian came through for me this week, with an article about the Best Fish and Chip Shop of the Year 2008 award and a description that perfectly encapsulated the essence of fish and chips:
And to my way of thinking, the papery rustle of chips, the golden brown of autumn leaves, the exquisite crunch of crisp batter, the little puff of steam bearing the sweet promise of cod or haddock (sustainably sauced, of course) that escapes as you break through the batter carapace for the first time, the slippery collops of hot, lucent, white fish slipping between your fingers into your mouth, the tang of vinegar, the rasp of salt, the gloss of fat on the lips – don't tell me that these aren't the equal to any gastronomic experience in any part of the world.I really have nothing to add.
Oh, except this: As we were heading to Penn Station at the end of our NYC trip the other week, we made a pit-stop at A Salt and Battery. It might not be real absolute proper fish and chips, but it will do for now.
Their flaky, fabulous steak and kidney pie: beef gravy and pastry is one of the best combinations ever.
Sadly, we were too full for dessert: