As British as Fish and Chips
Fish and chips are the undisputed National dish of Great Britain, becoming a cultural and culinary symbol of our country, instantly recognised as British the world over.
The origins and development of the dish in the mid -19th century are closely associated with the industrial revolution and it has maintained huge popularity as the original, affordable and nutritious takeaway ever since.
Where did fish and chips originate?
Fish and chips were first served together as a complete dish around 1860 - the Malin family of London and the Lee's of Mossley, near Manchester both staking claims to be the first.
However, the fried fish and cooked potato trades had existed for many years before this.
Fried fish was first introduced to London by Jewish immigrants from Portugal and Spain probably as far back as the 17th Century. American President Thomas Jefferson described eating 'fried fish in the Jewish fashion' on a visit to the capital at the end of the 18th Century and even Charles Dickens makes reference to a fried fish warehouse in Oliver Twist. Fried potatoes as chips probably originate from Belgium.
Dickens was indeed an early advocate of the trade also recounting 'Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil' in 'A Tale of
Elsewhere in the British Isles; in Scotland, Dundee City Council claims that "...in the 1870s, that glory of British gastronomy - the chip - was first sold by Belgian immigrant Edward De Gernier in the city's Greenmarket."
In Ireland, legend has it the first fish and chips were sold by an Italian immigrant, Giuseppe Cervi, who mistakenly stepped off an America-bound ship at Cobh (then called Queenstown) in County Cork and walked all the way to Dublin. He started by selling fish and chips outside Dublin pubs from a handcart.
He then found a permanent spot in Great Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street). His wife Palma would ask customers "Uno di
From the 1870's the fish and chip trade spread rapidly, especially in London and the cotton and woollen manufacturing towns of the Pennines, and soon became a readily accessible hot, nutritious meal for many factory and mill workers.
During this time the growth of fish and chips can be attributed to mechanisation both at sea and on land.
By 1910 there were perhaps 25,000 fish and chip shops around the country, peaking at 35,000 by 1927 and between the
Feeding the nation
Probably the most interesting and patriotic claim is that fish and chips helped win the First World War!
Lloyd George's war cabinet recognised its importance to the Nation's working classes and ensured supplies were maintained off ration. It helped feed munitions workers and kept the families of the fighting men in good heart.
At the outbreak of the Second World War the deep sea trawling industry
Again, reprieved from rationing during the Second World War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to fish and chips as 'Good Companions'.
British soldiers identified each other during the 'D' Day landings by calling out 'fish' and the response or password was 'chips'. Any other response and they would have certainly had their chips.
To the present day
Since the end of the Second World War, the food landscape in Great Britain has changed in many ways and although its unlikely the number of fish and chip shops will ever again reach the levels of
In the 21st Century, many businesses are family owned independents, some 2nd and 3rd generation and are the focal point of many communities. Collectively these businesses use 10% of the UK's potato crop and 30% of all white fish sold in the UK and the industry generates a turnover of around £1.2 billion every year. A total of 62% of fish sold in fish and chip shops is cod and 25% is haddock. 90% of shops use FAS fillets - these fish are caught by large modern trawlers operating in carefully managed fishing grounds in the icy, clear Arctic waters of the Barents Sea and North Atlantic, caught by Icelandic, Norwegian, Russian and Faroese vessels. Stringent, science-based and strictly enforced regulations have ensured good management of cod and haddock stocks in these waters, and the catches from this area
From humble beginnings 'British' fish and chips are now a global phenomenon and still growing. The NFFF has members throughout Europe, Australia and South East Asia and this trend
some interesting facts about fish and chips
There are currently in the region of:
10,500 specialist fish and chip shops in the UK
Compared to other fast food outlets:
McDonalds has only 1,200 outlets,
Kentucky Fried Chicken 840.
British consumers eat some
382 million meals from fish and chip shops every year
That's six servings for every man, woman and child.
A staggering annual spend of
£1.2 billion on fish and chips in the UK.
Once a year, at least
80% people visit a fish and chip shop
22% of people visit fish and chip shops every week.
In the UK alone
22% of people visit fish and chip shop every week.
Did you know that
56% of people buy fish and chips to eat in the home as a family meal.
Fish and chips provide a third of the
recommended daily allowance of vitamins
for a man and nearly half for a woman.
An average portion of fish, chips and peas
contains only 7.3% fat of which 2.8% is saturated fat.
this compares with 10.8% fat in a pork pie