Friday, 3 June 2016

Thoroughly battered

Journalist Alexi Duggins has been battered and fried by a predictable social-media onslaught after saying that the great British tradition of fish and chips was the most disgusting meal on earth - "a dreadful mush of artery-hardening grease....that should have stayed in the bad old days of British cuisine."

His article was scathing enough to give hundreds of fish-and-chip lovers instant apoplexy and send them scurrying to the internet to vent their wrath.

"Just go somewhere quiet and die there. You have nothing to contribute to human progress, you pointless philistine" was the sort of comment thrown at him. Chippy owners complained loudly that he was damaging their businesses.

He was invited to work a shift at a renowned fish-and-chip shop. He did, but remained unconvinced that fish and chips were a tasty, healthy meal. He was quite taken by the fried halloumi though (he comes from Cyprus).

As a vegetarian, I haven't eaten fish and chips since my twenties, but it was one of my favourite meals. I loved the combination of fish and batter, and I've always loved chips. I could think of many disgusting meals, but that's not one of them.

Clearly there are plenty of fish-and-chip enthusiasts who don't take kindly to their beloved dish being sneered at. We're talking a national institution here, a piece of British heritage along with the Union Jack, the Royal family and Big Ben. Think carefully before you rubbish it.

"I have since learned what it's like for the internet to scream that you're as popular as venereal disease" says a bruised Alexi. He's a brave man to have repeated his scepticism about this revered dish. There could easily be another outbreak of apoplexy.

18 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

Wash his mouth out....oh wait he already did that.
XO
WWW

Rummuser said...

During my pre vegetarian days fish and chips were among my favourite dishes and every time that I was in the UK I would make it a point to have as many as possible. Somehow it is not the same anywhere else even when made at home. And as you point out, the chips are something else again. They continue to be my favourite even now during my vegetarian days. And yes, twitter and facebook has changed the world for criticism,

Nick said...

www: I imagine he washed his mouth out very thoroughly to get rid of all the artery-hardening grease.

Ramana: Britain does seem to have a reputation for the perfect fish-and-chips experience, however much it's copied elsewhere in the world.

Social media has turned criticism into a very nasty business of unlimited malice, spite and venom.

Anonymous said...

Fish and Chips are not healthy for sure but soooooooo yummy. I would die for. I am a vegetable and fruit freak but never will give up fish and chips.
Mia More

Nick said...

Mia: I love a big bowl of chips. I don't care how unhealthy they are, there's just something utterly delicious about them.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%.
Mia More

Jenny Woolf said...

I can't stand most fast food but somehow fish and chips presses the right buttons for me. I love it.

Joanne Noragon said...

That fish looks as good as fish and chips I order here. I do substitute cold slaw for chips, but only because I like the crunch of slaw.

Nick said...

Jenny: Fast but tasty. I had lots of fish and chips as a kid but I'm perfectly healthy. So they can't be that lethal.

Joanne: Coleslaw would complement the fish quite nicely, I imagine. Though coleslaw isn't any healthier - it includes lots of fat and salt!

Bijoux said...

Everything in moderation! Most of what we call 'ethnic' foods here are not healthy. The recipes were developed back when most people did manual labor and needed something cheap to fill their stomach. Also, because fresh fruits and vegies were not available to most regions.

If people want to eat fish and chips as a 'treat' once a month or so, more power to them! There's a lot worse things to eat than fish, even if it's deep fried.

Dave Martin said...

Takeaway fish and chips can be of variable quality. Done right it's a wonderful thing, but sometimes it's awful. The worst I ever had was from the 'Viking' chippy on Milton Road in Cambridge where the chips were soggy and as soon as I bit into the fish a stream of grease filled my mouth and ran down my chin. It went straight into the bin.
Best ever was by the harbour in Bridlington.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Everything in moderation - my principle as well. Good point about ethnic foods that aren't necessarily good for you. But the occasional greasy, fat-ridden dish isn't going to kill anyone.

Dave: I remember well that cooking techniques are very variable, from oil-sodden to crisp and tasty. I had my share of revolting, inedible offerings.

Liz Hinds said...

At their best fish and chips are great; at their worst, they are horrible. Almost never as good as the smell and anticipation leads you to believe.

Nick said...

Liz: True, the enticing smell can sometimes be followed by an obnoxious reality. How do they get it so wrong?

John Gray said...

I bloody love fish and chips
Lots of salt LOTS of vinegar
Bloody lovely

Nick said...

John: That's a YES, then?

Nan said...

I'm a vegetarian, too, and those chips are one of my favorite foods, as long as they are cooked in vegetable oil.

Nick said...

Nan: Yes, you never quite know if they've used vegetable oil or some nasty alternative!