02 September, 2013



In (what really ought to be) a tedious non-story, we learn about Paul Bradbury,who has just taken over a fish and chip shop in Padiham.  Mr Bradbury's crime against humanity was to put up a presumably temporary sign announcing the change of ownership in the following terms

Chippy On The Green
With English Owners

The previous owners of the shop are described as

It has been run by English people of East Asian descent and of Greek descent.

I'm not really sure what that actually means.

The usual suspects are up in arms, of course.  The local MP, no less, the mayor and some local teacher all express their horror and disgust.  The teacher fumes

In this day and age, it shouldn’t matter who you are being served by.

Well, up to a point, Gary.  I would add the rider

... if they know what they are doing.

because I think Mr Bradbury has a valid point.  When I lived oop north, admittedly 30 to 40 years ago now, you never gave much thought to the quality of fish and chip shops.  Chippies were damned near universally run by British people who knew what was expected.  They were pretty well all of a high and consistent standard.  A noticeably duff chippy would quickly lose custom and go out of business. 

Then I moved to London, where the chippies were generally run by non-European foreigners.  They were run as an adjunct to whatever kind of "ethnic" nosh the shop in question was peddling, and understanding how to correctly cook and serve fried fish and chips was of low priority. I quickly learned that while the chips might (sometimes) be acceptable, the fish was almost always a no-no.  Apart from anything else, the Chinese seem to have particular difficulty with the concept that filleting a fish involves removing the bones.

There were rare, honourable exceptions.  The Fryer's Delight in Theobald's Road, WC1, run by an Italian family, was a place to which a fussy ex-pat northerner could return again and again with complete confidence.  But generally if I want acceptable fish and chips in London, I  journey out to the Edge, where the White tribes still live.

If Mr Bradbury is saying "Come to me; I'm English and understand the intricacies of English food", then is that really more shocking and less valid than Mr Wu saying "Come to me; I'm actually from Szechuan and I understand the intricacies of Szechuanese cuisine.?"

Or is Mr Curson just another glib xenomaniac Guardianista racist who believes that the English have no culture of their own?

Good to see you back.



And yes, though I have fond memories of my little local Chinese (now a ubiquitous fried chicken shop) her fish & chips were mediocre, compared to the one a short drive away. Something to do with the oil being tainted by being also used to fry the spring rolls!

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