On the Food Grapevine: Saying Goodbye to Fish & Chips?

Battered Cod and Chips

It may have been one of our national dishes since the reign of Queen Victoria, but rumour has it that pubs and restaurants in Britain have been begun to dispense with Fish & Chips. The question is: are we ready to say goodbye yet?

Battered Catch of the Day, with Hand-cut Chips, Minted Peas and Tartare Sauce

Battered Catch of the Day, with Hand-cut Chips, Minted Peas and Tartare Sauce — as served at The Old Frizzle, Wimbledon.

Much as I am happy to accept our continually-increasing enthusiasm towards healthy eating in the UK, to hear on the grapevine that one of our few remaining true “National Dishes” is being replaced on a large number of pubs and restaurants’ menus by salads, of all things, has been greatly distressing news.

We have been eating fish and chips as a symbol of British cuisine since the 19th century. It has since become a lynchpin of the pub menu and in many cases, higher-class restaurants too (though in the latter case, some poshed-up versions, of course). What is there to gain from a larger salad menu, which will only appeal to a select few, at the cost of something we all know and love?

Obviously it’s no secret that this country is on the serious health-kick, but it seems most restaurateurs value the loss of their customers calories more than their country’s culture. For the traditionalists among us, myself included, I can’t help but admit that to omit this section of our food heritage from menus is by many means insulting.

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