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Episode
17

British Food Part 2: Fish & Chips

First published on
January 14, 2020
History
-
13
minutes
Food & drink
Jewish history
The Victorian Era
Life in the UK

It's a British classic, but how much do you really know about it?

Today we are diving into the fascinating history of fish and chips, and we'll discover that it might be not quite so British as you might think.

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Transcript

[00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the English Learning For Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:09] I'm Alastair Budge. 

[00:00:11] Today it is part two of our mini series on British food. 

[00:00:17] If you missed the first part, we talked about the strange history of the British oyster. It's not something that you might have associated normally with Britain, perhaps, but 200 years ago Londoners were eating an average of one oyster per day, and they were handed out for free outside pubs. 

[00:00:39] We also talked about one fateful evening that caused the huge decline of the oyster industry in Britain and cost several nobles their lives. 

[00:00:51] So if that sounds interesting, then make sure you have a listen to episode one of this mini series.

[00:00:57] But today we are not talking about oysters anymore. We're onto something else. Something you might be more familiar with. 

[00:01:07] Yes, it's a British classic - fish and chips. 

[00:01:12] Before we get our hands too greasy though with the history of fish and chips, I just want to remind those of you listening to this podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or whatever podcast app you might be listening to this on that you can find the transcript and key vocabulary for this podcast on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com.

[00:01:35] The transcripts and key vocabulary can be a huge help for following the podcast and expanding your vocabulary, so it's definitely worth checking that out as an option. 

[00:01:46] Okay then, fish and chips. 

[00:01:49] If you're thinking boring, not another Brit claiming to talk about something new and interesting, but all he's talking about is fish and chips, don't worry. 

[00:02:00] I promise that this is going to be more interesting than someone telling you that fish and chips are popular in the UK. 

[00:02:07] Today we are going to be looking at the story behind the dish, behind fish and chips.

[00:02:14] As you'll find out, it's pretty interesting and there's a lot to suggest that it's not really that British after all. 

[00:02:25] That being said, fish and chips have a special place in every Brit's heart. Winston Churchill, the famous wartime prime minister, called them “the good companions”. 

[00:02:39] The Beatle, John Lennon, smothered his in tomato ketchup and even Michael Jackson was famous for enjoying his with mushy peas

[00:02:51] For generations, fish and chips have fed millions of memories - eaten with greasy fingers on a seaside holiday, a payday treat at the end of the working week, or a late night supper on the way home from the pub. 

[00:03:09] It has even been suggested that fish and chips helped win World War One. 

[00:03:15] According to Professor John Walton, who is the author of a book called Fish and Chips and The British Working Class, the government made safeguarding supplies of fish and chips a priority.

[00:03:30] He said the cabinet knew it was vital to keep families on the home front in good heart, unlike the German regime that failed to keep its people well fed, and that was one of the reasons why Germany was defeated. 

[00:03:46] He continued to say, historians can sometimes be a bit snooty about these things, but fish and chips played a big part in bringing contentment and staving off disaffection

[00:04:01] Basically, he says people were more willing to tolerate the pretty terrible situation that they were in, if they had small home comforts, things like fish and chips.

[00:04:13] George Orwell, who you may know as the author of books like Animal Farm and 1984, in his book, The Road To Wigan Pier, which came out in 1937, he put fish and chips first among the home comforts that helped keep the masses happy and according to him, averted revolution. 

[00:04:34] Such was the perceived importance of keeping these home comforts alive, that during World War Two ministers bent over backwards, they did everything they could, to make sure that fish and chips were one of the few foods that was never rationed.

[00:04:54] But enough about the impact that fish and chips had and the importance that they have for British people. 

[00:05:01] Where did they actually come from? When and how did they get to this iconic position in every Brit's heart? 

[00:05:10] Well, let's start with chips because, and I know that this might be a controversial statement to make, but chips aren't the main part of the dish. 

[00:05:20] I'm sorry to those of you listening out there that may disagree, but there you go, I've said it, chips aren't the main bit of fish and chips. 

[00:05:28] Anyway, chips. Where did they come from? In fact, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that they actually have French origins, or at least a continental past. 

[00:05:43] The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th century, to either Belgium or France, depending on who you believe.

[00:05:52] Oddly enough, it's believed that the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish rather than an accompaniment. 

[00:06:02] When rivers would freeze over and no fish could be caught, resourceful housewives began cutting potatoes into fishy shapes and frying them as an alternative to fish. 

[00:06:18] At around the same time, fried fish was introduced to Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain who adapted an original recipe for fish that was coated in breadcrumbs and cooked on Fridays, to be eaten cold on Shabbat, on the Saturday. 

[00:06:40] Given the anti-Semitism at the time in Britain and the requirement for Jewish people to behave like Christians, these Jewish immigrants used to fry the fish on a Friday to look like good Christians, then they would eat it cold the day after, in accordance with the Jewish tradition. 

[00:07:01] But who first had the bright idea to marry, to put together, fish with chips remains the subject of fierce controversy and we will probably never know for sure. 

[00:07:16] It's safe to say it was somewhere in England, but arguments rage over whether it was up North or down South.

[00:07:26] Some people credit a Northern entrepreneur called John Lees. 

[00:07:32] As early as 1863 it is believed he was selling fish and chips out of a wooden hut at Mossley Market in industrial Lancashire in the North of England.

[00:07:43] Others claim that the first combined fish and chip shop was actually opened by a Jewish immigrant, Joseph Mullin, in East London, around 1860.

[00:07:55] They say it was him who had the genius idea of putting fried potatoes, chips, together with the fried fish that was eaten by Jewish immigrants in Britain. 

[00:08:06] Whoever actually did invent it, it caught on like wildfire, it became incredibly popular, very quickly. 

[00:08:14] Diets in 1860 for working people were boring, and fish and chips were a tasty deviation from the norm.

[00:08:24] Immigrants, especially Italian immigrants who were passing through English towns and cities, saw the growing queues outside fish and chip shops, and they sensed a business opportunity, so they set up shops in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, all over. 

[00:08:43] By the 1920s there were 35,000 fish and chip shops across Britain.

[00:08:49] So that's almost one per thousand people, and that's just in the course of over 50 years. So if you're doing the arithmetic, if you're doing the calculations in your head, that's about two new fish and chip shops every day. 

[00:09:04] On a linguistic note, a fish and chip shop in the UK is normally just shortened to chippy. So if you hear someone saying, let's go to the chippy, this is what they mean. 

[00:09:16] Of course, the fact that fish and chips are pretty tasty meant that there was this huge demand for fish and chips across the UK.

[00:09:24] But what other factors meant that it soon became such a nationwide staple

[00:09:30] Well, firstly, the advent of trawl fishing, so this means boats going along with huge nets underneath them, which meant they could catch far more fish than before. 

[00:09:44] Fish suddenly became a lot cheaper and a lot more widely available.

[00:09:49] Secondly, though, the railways meant that this fish could quickly be transported inland

[00:09:57] Remember, although commercial refrigerators existed at the time, they were still very expensive, and so being able to quickly transport the fish to the cities inland where it was to be consumed meant that suddenly a whole new section of the country could be opened up. 

[00:10:16] To keep prices down, fish and chips were wrapped in old newspaper, a practice that survived as late as the 1980s. But then it was ruled unsafe for food to come into contact with the ink from newspapers without greaseproof paper in between.

[00:10:36] Newspaper ink, as you may know, is full of all sorts of chemicals that you really don't want in your stomach. And now most fish and chips, most portions of fish and chips, will come wrapped in some sort of brown paper. 

[00:10:52] If you see fish and chips wrapped in newspaper now, you're probably in a very touristy place as it won't be real newspaper, it'll be special greaseproof stuff specifically made for fish and chips, or should I say specifically made for tourists. 

[00:11:11] Nowadays, the number of fish and chip shops, of chippies, has plummeted and there are only about 10,000 throughout the UK. 

[00:11:22] Brits now have a plethora of fast food options to choose from, although a portion of fish and chips always holds a special place in every self-respecting Brit's heart - there's really nothing quite like it.

[00:11:35] So next time you find yourself in a conversation about British food, and someone mentions the cliché of fish and chips, you'll be able to tell them the story behind it, and you'll know that it's not quite so British after all. 

[00:11:52] Right, as always, if you have enjoyed this episode, please feel free to share with friends, family members, colleagues, classmates, or anyone else who may be interested.

[00:12:04] The more people who listen to the podcast, then the better it'll get for everyone. 

[00:12:09] And if you have thoughts, feedback, or anything you want to say, any feedback about the podcast, then I'd love to hear from you. Just email hi, Hi@leonardoenglish.com and I'll get straight back to you. 

[00:12:22] Next up, we'll be taking a long look at the English breakfast at the fry up.

[00:12:29] We'll talk about how and why English breakfasts became so massive and how they made the transition from food of the aristocracy, of lords and ladies, to the way that the working man would start the day. 

[00:12:44] Until then, you've been listening to the English Learning For Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English.

[00:12:51] I'm Alastair Budge and I will catch you in the next episode.


[END OF PODCAST]



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[00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the English Learning For Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:09] I'm Alastair Budge. 

[00:00:11] Today it is part two of our mini series on British food. 

[00:00:17] If you missed the first part, we talked about the strange history of the British oyster. It's not something that you might have associated normally with Britain, perhaps, but 200 years ago Londoners were eating an average of one oyster per day, and they were handed out for free outside pubs. 

[00:00:39] We also talked about one fateful evening that caused the huge decline of the oyster industry in Britain and cost several nobles their lives. 

[00:00:51] So if that sounds interesting, then make sure you have a listen to episode one of this mini series.

[00:00:57] But today we are not talking about oysters anymore. We're onto something else. Something you might be more familiar with. 

[00:01:07] Yes, it's a British classic - fish and chips. 

[00:01:12] Before we get our hands too greasy though with the history of fish and chips, I just want to remind those of you listening to this podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or whatever podcast app you might be listening to this on that you can find the transcript and key vocabulary for this podcast on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com.

[00:01:35] The transcripts and key vocabulary can be a huge help for following the podcast and expanding your vocabulary, so it's definitely worth checking that out as an option. 

[00:01:46] Okay then, fish and chips. 

[00:01:49] If you're thinking boring, not another Brit claiming to talk about something new and interesting, but all he's talking about is fish and chips, don't worry. 

[00:02:00] I promise that this is going to be more interesting than someone telling you that fish and chips are popular in the UK. 

[00:02:07] Today we are going to be looking at the story behind the dish, behind fish and chips.

[00:02:14] As you'll find out, it's pretty interesting and there's a lot to suggest that it's not really that British after all. 

[00:02:25] That being said, fish and chips have a special place in every Brit's heart. Winston Churchill, the famous wartime prime minister, called them “the good companions”. 

[00:02:39] The Beatle, John Lennon, smothered his in tomato ketchup and even Michael Jackson was famous for enjoying his with mushy peas

[00:02:51] For generations, fish and chips have fed millions of memories - eaten with greasy fingers on a seaside holiday, a payday treat at the end of the working week, or a late night supper on the way home from the pub. 

[00:03:09] It has even been suggested that fish and chips helped win World War One. 

[00:03:15] According to Professor John Walton, who is the author of a book called Fish and Chips and The British Working Class, the government made safeguarding supplies of fish and chips a priority.

[00:03:30] He said the cabinet knew it was vital to keep families on the home front in good heart, unlike the German regime that failed to keep its people well fed, and that was one of the reasons why Germany was defeated. 

[00:03:46] He continued to say, historians can sometimes be a bit snooty about these things, but fish and chips played a big part in bringing contentment and staving off disaffection

[00:04:01] Basically, he says people were more willing to tolerate the pretty terrible situation that they were in, if they had small home comforts, things like fish and chips.

[00:04:13] George Orwell, who you may know as the author of books like Animal Farm and 1984, in his book, The Road To Wigan Pier, which came out in 1937, he put fish and chips first among the home comforts that helped keep the masses happy and according to him, averted revolution. 

[00:04:34] Such was the perceived importance of keeping these home comforts alive, that during World War Two ministers bent over backwards, they did everything they could, to make sure that fish and chips were one of the few foods that was never rationed.

[00:04:54] But enough about the impact that fish and chips had and the importance that they have for British people. 

[00:05:01] Where did they actually come from? When and how did they get to this iconic position in every Brit's heart? 

[00:05:10] Well, let's start with chips because, and I know that this might be a controversial statement to make, but chips aren't the main part of the dish. 

[00:05:20] I'm sorry to those of you listening out there that may disagree, but there you go, I've said it, chips aren't the main bit of fish and chips. 

[00:05:28] Anyway, chips. Where did they come from? In fact, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that they actually have French origins, or at least a continental past. 

[00:05:43] The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th century, to either Belgium or France, depending on who you believe.

[00:05:52] Oddly enough, it's believed that the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish rather than an accompaniment. 

[00:06:02] When rivers would freeze over and no fish could be caught, resourceful housewives began cutting potatoes into fishy shapes and frying them as an alternative to fish. 

[00:06:18] At around the same time, fried fish was introduced to Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain who adapted an original recipe for fish that was coated in breadcrumbs and cooked on Fridays, to be eaten cold on Shabbat, on the Saturday. 

[00:06:40] Given the anti-Semitism at the time in Britain and the requirement for Jewish people to behave like Christians, these Jewish immigrants used to fry the fish on a Friday to look like good Christians, then they would eat it cold the day after, in accordance with the Jewish tradition. 

[00:07:01] But who first had the bright idea to marry, to put together, fish with chips remains the subject of fierce controversy and we will probably never know for sure. 

[00:07:16] It's safe to say it was somewhere in England, but arguments rage over whether it was up North or down South.

[00:07:26] Some people credit a Northern entrepreneur called John Lees. 

[00:07:32] As early as 1863 it is believed he was selling fish and chips out of a wooden hut at Mossley Market in industrial Lancashire in the North of England.

[00:07:43] Others claim that the first combined fish and chip shop was actually opened by a Jewish immigrant, Joseph Mullin, in East London, around 1860.

[00:07:55] They say it was him who had the genius idea of putting fried potatoes, chips, together with the fried fish that was eaten by Jewish immigrants in Britain. 

[00:08:06] Whoever actually did invent it, it caught on like wildfire, it became incredibly popular, very quickly. 

[00:08:14] Diets in 1860 for working people were boring, and fish and chips were a tasty deviation from the norm.

[00:08:24] Immigrants, especially Italian immigrants who were passing through English towns and cities, saw the growing queues outside fish and chip shops, and they sensed a business opportunity, so they set up shops in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, all over. 

[00:08:43] By the 1920s there were 35,000 fish and chip shops across Britain.

[00:08:49] So that's almost one per thousand people, and that's just in the course of over 50 years. So if you're doing the arithmetic, if you're doing the calculations in your head, that's about two new fish and chip shops every day. 

[00:09:04] On a linguistic note, a fish and chip shop in the UK is normally just shortened to chippy. So if you hear someone saying, let's go to the chippy, this is what they mean. 

[00:09:16] Of course, the fact that fish and chips are pretty tasty meant that there was this huge demand for fish and chips across the UK.

[00:09:24] But what other factors meant that it soon became such a nationwide staple

[00:09:30] Well, firstly, the advent of trawl fishing, so this means boats going along with huge nets underneath them, which meant they could catch far more fish than before. 

[00:09:44] Fish suddenly became a lot cheaper and a lot more widely available.

[00:09:49] Secondly, though, the railways meant that this fish could quickly be transported inland

[00:09:57] Remember, although commercial refrigerators existed at the time, they were still very expensive, and so being able to quickly transport the fish to the cities inland where it was to be consumed meant that suddenly a whole new section of the country could be opened up. 

[00:10:16] To keep prices down, fish and chips were wrapped in old newspaper, a practice that survived as late as the 1980s. But then it was ruled unsafe for food to come into contact with the ink from newspapers without greaseproof paper in between.

[00:10:36] Newspaper ink, as you may know, is full of all sorts of chemicals that you really don't want in your stomach. And now most fish and chips, most portions of fish and chips, will come wrapped in some sort of brown paper. 

[00:10:52] If you see fish and chips wrapped in newspaper now, you're probably in a very touristy place as it won't be real newspaper, it'll be special greaseproof stuff specifically made for fish and chips, or should I say specifically made for tourists. 

[00:11:11] Nowadays, the number of fish and chip shops, of chippies, has plummeted and there are only about 10,000 throughout the UK. 

[00:11:22] Brits now have a plethora of fast food options to choose from, although a portion of fish and chips always holds a special place in every self-respecting Brit's heart - there's really nothing quite like it.

[00:11:35] So next time you find yourself in a conversation about British food, and someone mentions the cliché of fish and chips, you'll be able to tell them the story behind it, and you'll know that it's not quite so British after all. 

[00:11:52] Right, as always, if you have enjoyed this episode, please feel free to share with friends, family members, colleagues, classmates, or anyone else who may be interested.

[00:12:04] The more people who listen to the podcast, then the better it'll get for everyone. 

[00:12:09] And if you have thoughts, feedback, or anything you want to say, any feedback about the podcast, then I'd love to hear from you. Just email hi, Hi@leonardoenglish.com and I'll get straight back to you. 

[00:12:22] Next up, we'll be taking a long look at the English breakfast at the fry up.

[00:12:29] We'll talk about how and why English breakfasts became so massive and how they made the transition from food of the aristocracy, of lords and ladies, to the way that the working man would start the day. 

[00:12:44] Until then, you've been listening to the English Learning For Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English.

[00:12:51] I'm Alastair Budge and I will catch you in the next episode.


[END OF PODCAST]



[00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the English Learning For Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:09] I'm Alastair Budge. 

[00:00:11] Today it is part two of our mini series on British food. 

[00:00:17] If you missed the first part, we talked about the strange history of the British oyster. It's not something that you might have associated normally with Britain, perhaps, but 200 years ago Londoners were eating an average of one oyster per day, and they were handed out for free outside pubs. 

[00:00:39] We also talked about one fateful evening that caused the huge decline of the oyster industry in Britain and cost several nobles their lives. 

[00:00:51] So if that sounds interesting, then make sure you have a listen to episode one of this mini series.

[00:00:57] But today we are not talking about oysters anymore. We're onto something else. Something you might be more familiar with. 

[00:01:07] Yes, it's a British classic - fish and chips. 

[00:01:12] Before we get our hands too greasy though with the history of fish and chips, I just want to remind those of you listening to this podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or whatever podcast app you might be listening to this on that you can find the transcript and key vocabulary for this podcast on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com.

[00:01:35] The transcripts and key vocabulary can be a huge help for following the podcast and expanding your vocabulary, so it's definitely worth checking that out as an option. 

[00:01:46] Okay then, fish and chips. 

[00:01:49] If you're thinking boring, not another Brit claiming to talk about something new and interesting, but all he's talking about is fish and chips, don't worry. 

[00:02:00] I promise that this is going to be more interesting than someone telling you that fish and chips are popular in the UK. 

[00:02:07] Today we are going to be looking at the story behind the dish, behind fish and chips.

[00:02:14] As you'll find out, it's pretty interesting and there's a lot to suggest that it's not really that British after all. 

[00:02:25] That being said, fish and chips have a special place in every Brit's heart. Winston Churchill, the famous wartime prime minister, called them “the good companions”. 

[00:02:39] The Beatle, John Lennon, smothered his in tomato ketchup and even Michael Jackson was famous for enjoying his with mushy peas

[00:02:51] For generations, fish and chips have fed millions of memories - eaten with greasy fingers on a seaside holiday, a payday treat at the end of the working week, or a late night supper on the way home from the pub. 

[00:03:09] It has even been suggested that fish and chips helped win World War One. 

[00:03:15] According to Professor John Walton, who is the author of a book called Fish and Chips and The British Working Class, the government made safeguarding supplies of fish and chips a priority.

[00:03:30] He said the cabinet knew it was vital to keep families on the home front in good heart, unlike the German regime that failed to keep its people well fed, and that was one of the reasons why Germany was defeated. 

[00:03:46] He continued to say, historians can sometimes be a bit snooty about these things, but fish and chips played a big part in bringing contentment and staving off disaffection

[00:04:01] Basically, he says people were more willing to tolerate the pretty terrible situation that they were in, if they had small home comforts, things like fish and chips.

[00:04:13] George Orwell, who you may know as the author of books like Animal Farm and 1984, in his book, The Road To Wigan Pier, which came out in 1937, he put fish and chips first among the home comforts that helped keep the masses happy and according to him, averted revolution. 

[00:04:34] Such was the perceived importance of keeping these home comforts alive, that during World War Two ministers bent over backwards, they did everything they could, to make sure that fish and chips were one of the few foods that was never rationed.

[00:04:54] But enough about the impact that fish and chips had and the importance that they have for British people. 

[00:05:01] Where did they actually come from? When and how did they get to this iconic position in every Brit's heart? 

[00:05:10] Well, let's start with chips because, and I know that this might be a controversial statement to make, but chips aren't the main part of the dish. 

[00:05:20] I'm sorry to those of you listening out there that may disagree, but there you go, I've said it, chips aren't the main bit of fish and chips. 

[00:05:28] Anyway, chips. Where did they come from? In fact, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that they actually have French origins, or at least a continental past. 

[00:05:43] The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th century, to either Belgium or France, depending on who you believe.

[00:05:52] Oddly enough, it's believed that the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish rather than an accompaniment. 

[00:06:02] When rivers would freeze over and no fish could be caught, resourceful housewives began cutting potatoes into fishy shapes and frying them as an alternative to fish. 

[00:06:18] At around the same time, fried fish was introduced to Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain who adapted an original recipe for fish that was coated in breadcrumbs and cooked on Fridays, to be eaten cold on Shabbat, on the Saturday. 

[00:06:40] Given the anti-Semitism at the time in Britain and the requirement for Jewish people to behave like Christians, these Jewish immigrants used to fry the fish on a Friday to look like good Christians, then they would eat it cold the day after, in accordance with the Jewish tradition. 

[00:07:01] But who first had the bright idea to marry, to put together, fish with chips remains the subject of fierce controversy and we will probably never know for sure. 

[00:07:16] It's safe to say it was somewhere in England, but arguments rage over whether it was up North or down South.

[00:07:26] Some people credit a Northern entrepreneur called John Lees. 

[00:07:32] As early as 1863 it is believed he was selling fish and chips out of a wooden hut at Mossley Market in industrial Lancashire in the North of England.

[00:07:43] Others claim that the first combined fish and chip shop was actually opened by a Jewish immigrant, Joseph Mullin, in East London, around 1860.

[00:07:55] They say it was him who had the genius idea of putting fried potatoes, chips, together with the fried fish that was eaten by Jewish immigrants in Britain. 

[00:08:06] Whoever actually did invent it, it caught on like wildfire, it became incredibly popular, very quickly. 

[00:08:14] Diets in 1860 for working people were boring, and fish and chips were a tasty deviation from the norm.

[00:08:24] Immigrants, especially Italian immigrants who were passing through English towns and cities, saw the growing queues outside fish and chip shops, and they sensed a business opportunity, so they set up shops in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, all over. 

[00:08:43] By the 1920s there were 35,000 fish and chip shops across Britain.

[00:08:49] So that's almost one per thousand people, and that's just in the course of over 50 years. So if you're doing the arithmetic, if you're doing the calculations in your head, that's about two new fish and chip shops every day. 

[00:09:04] On a linguistic note, a fish and chip shop in the UK is normally just shortened to chippy. So if you hear someone saying, let's go to the chippy, this is what they mean. 

[00:09:16] Of course, the fact that fish and chips are pretty tasty meant that there was this huge demand for fish and chips across the UK.

[00:09:24] But what other factors meant that it soon became such a nationwide staple

[00:09:30] Well, firstly, the advent of trawl fishing, so this means boats going along with huge nets underneath them, which meant they could catch far more fish than before. 

[00:09:44] Fish suddenly became a lot cheaper and a lot more widely available.

[00:09:49] Secondly, though, the railways meant that this fish could quickly be transported inland

[00:09:57] Remember, although commercial refrigerators existed at the time, they were still very expensive, and so being able to quickly transport the fish to the cities inland where it was to be consumed meant that suddenly a whole new section of the country could be opened up. 

[00:10:16] To keep prices down, fish and chips were wrapped in old newspaper, a practice that survived as late as the 1980s. But then it was ruled unsafe for food to come into contact with the ink from newspapers without greaseproof paper in between.

[00:10:36] Newspaper ink, as you may know, is full of all sorts of chemicals that you really don't want in your stomach. And now most fish and chips, most portions of fish and chips, will come wrapped in some sort of brown paper. 

[00:10:52] If you see fish and chips wrapped in newspaper now, you're probably in a very touristy place as it won't be real newspaper, it'll be special greaseproof stuff specifically made for fish and chips, or should I say specifically made for tourists. 

[00:11:11] Nowadays, the number of fish and chip shops, of chippies, has plummeted and there are only about 10,000 throughout the UK. 

[00:11:22] Brits now have a plethora of fast food options to choose from, although a portion of fish and chips always holds a special place in every self-respecting Brit's heart - there's really nothing quite like it.

[00:11:35] So next time you find yourself in a conversation about British food, and someone mentions the cliché of fish and chips, you'll be able to tell them the story behind it, and you'll know that it's not quite so British after all. 

[00:11:52] Right, as always, if you have enjoyed this episode, please feel free to share with friends, family members, colleagues, classmates, or anyone else who may be interested.

[00:12:04] The more people who listen to the podcast, then the better it'll get for everyone. 

[00:12:09] And if you have thoughts, feedback, or anything you want to say, any feedback about the podcast, then I'd love to hear from you. Just email hi, Hi@leonardoenglish.com and I'll get straight back to you. 

[00:12:22] Next up, we'll be taking a long look at the English breakfast at the fry up.

[00:12:29] We'll talk about how and why English breakfasts became so massive and how they made the transition from food of the aristocracy, of lords and ladies, to the way that the working man would start the day. 

[00:12:44] Until then, you've been listening to the English Learning For Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English.

[00:12:51] I'm Alastair Budge and I will catch you in the next episode.


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