Let's celebrate chip week - February 20 to February 26
It is a brainchild of the Potato Council and aims to encourage more people to eat chips and dispel its myths.
Between the 19th century and 20th century, fish and chips grew in popularity across the United Kingdom, becoming one of the populace’s favorite meals. During the Second World War, fish and chips played an important role. It was one of the non-rationed foods, complementing soldiers’ and the British people’s diets.
Fish and chips are still one of the top 10 most popular British dishes today.
National chip week timeline
1680: earliest evidence of chips in history when Belgians cut potatoes into fish shapes, and deep fry them during winter.
1800s: Sir Walter Raleigh brings potatoes to England from the New World.
1817: William Kitchiner publishes his cookbook, which includes a recipe for potato chips.
1860s: The Lee and Malin families launch their fish and chips shops in Oldham and London.
National chip week facts
Fish and chips have always been called ‘fish and chips’ in the UK. People also use the modern slang ‘chippy’ for fish and chips shops.
Cod is the most popular fish for fish and chips. Chefs, on the other hand, will choose for haddock.
The oldest fish and chip shop in the world is based in Yeadon near Leeds and has been operating since 1865.
The number of fish and chips shops in the UK has fallen to 10,500 compared to 90 years ago when there were 35,000.
Brits consume 382 million portions of fish and chips yearly and spend up to £1.2 billion pounds annually on them
During the D-Day Landings of the Second World War, British soldiers identified each other by calling out ‘fish’ and waiting for the other person to respond ‘chips.’
Marini’s in Glasgow sold 12,406 portions of fish and chips in one day.
Chips are healthy – they are made from potatoes, which have been scientifically proven to provide various health benefits. Eating potato chips can help improve your bone health, lower your blood pressure, promote heart health, and increase immunity against the common cold.
Chips are cheap – for a meal that gives us so much deliciousness, memories, and health benefits, it’s relatively cheap. Depending on the city, a portion of fish and chips costs between £5 and £12. That's value for money when compared to pizza, £7-£15, and chicken tikka nasala, £6 to £12.
Fish and chips rose to prominence during the Second World War when Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to it as ‘the good companions.’ It was one of the few foods that were not rationed and one of the most eaten foods during that period.
How to celebrate
Cook fish and chips
To make the classic fish and chips at home, you will need a thick white fish (cod, haddock, or pollock) cut into fillets, flour, baking powder, cold dark beer, sparkling cold water, potatoes, vegetable oil, or lard for frying, and black pepper and sea salt to taste.
Go out for fish and chips
There are 10,500 fish and chips shops in UK. Go out of your way this National Chip Week and try the ones close to you.
Do not forget the accompaniments: salt and vinegar. Bread and butter and mushy peas are recommended, tartar sauce is optional and gravy or curry sauce … if you must.