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Fish and chips, the original fast food, is not nearly as bad for you as some suppose

fish'n'chipsOn the wall of Pete’s fish and chip shop (long gone) in Market Street in St Andrews, was pinned a yellowing news clip in which the resident doctor of the Sunday Post sang the praises of fish and chips as a cheap and nourishing meal.  It used to be called a fish supper in Scotland, and probably still is. 1860 saw the UK’s first fish and chip shop opened by Joseph Malin, though Oldham stakes an earlier claim with a blue plaque marking the spot. Britain’s urban working class made it a staple.  It was made possible by trawlers plying the surrounding seas, and the deep-fried wedges of potato that came in at about the same time.

Daniel Johnson tells us that “a portion provides vitamin C, vitamins B6 and B12, some iron, zinc and calcium, as well as iodine, omega-3 fatty acid and some important dietary fibre.” Quite true, and a useful part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation.  Two tips:  the newspaper that fish and chip shops used to wrap it in mopped up some of the surplus fat, so it’s useful to blot the food on a kitchen towel before serving it.  Secondly, go easy on the salt, and while vinegar is good with the battered fish, it can make the chips soggy if you’re too liberal with it.  The average serving has about 840 calories, and the traditional mushy peas to accompany it puts some greens on your plate.


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