Rich, delicious, flavorful, and utterly satisfying — that is the best way to describe this tasty treat made up of, well, fish…and chips!
There is just something extremely special about the tang of salt and the oil-stained newspaper that speaks of a meal so steeped in tradition, it only seems appropriate that it comes wrapped in the day’s news!
National Fish and Chip Day commemorates this fundamental meal of the working class throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. And while its roots may lay on Britannia’s foggy shores, there are few places in the world that this comfort food hasn’t found its way to.
National Fish and Chip Day is just the time to celebrate this delicious meal!
History of National Fish and Chip Day
To talk of the history of this holiday is, as in the case of so many others, must include discussing the origins of the meal which it celebrates.
Fish and Chips may seem like an odd thing to have become the foundation for an entire culture of working-class individuals. But much comes into focus when a person is able to understand the economy and industry of the time it took hold.
In the late 1800s, trawl fishing became a major part of the economic industry in the North Sea. This resulted in the growing availability of fresh fish in areas further inland in the British Isles, especially within the cities. Anyone who understands economics knows that ‘easily available’ means ‘cheaper to get your hands on’.
This cheap, very filling and highly caloric food created an excellent foundation for a working class that held incredibly physically demanding jobs throughout the late 19th century. Thus it was that “Chippers” started cropping up all over major population centers, the vendors that served the fish and chips to the people on the street.
From there, the meal spread all over the world and is now popular all over Canada (being sold from ‘Chip Wagons’) and throughout the United States.
National Fish and Chip Day itself began fairly recently, in 2015 and continues to be sponsored by the National Edible Oil Distributors Association (NEODA) in the UK. The day was created to raise awareness for the industry and has been growing ever since.
How to Celebrate National Fish and Chip Day
Celebrating National Fish and Chip Day can be a load of culinary fun! Sure, it’s not a fancy meal, but it offers a hearty, filling meal that almost anyone can enjoy.
Eat Some Fish and Chips
Well, it starts off simply enough, doesn’t it? Pop on over to your favorite Chipper and get yourself a paper-full of this delicious and filling meal. For those who don’t happen to have one around the corner, many restaurants may offer the dish on their menu.
Or, in a real pinch, it might be necessary to go ahead and hand batter, then deep fry a plate of breaded fish portions and a few servings of chips at home. Actually, it’s not too difficult to make and might even be a fun activity in celebration of the day!
Try Different Serving Options for Fish and Chips
Try this dish however you like it, with a little tartar sauce in the US, a bit of mayonnaise in Canada, or whatever else is a favorite thing to flavor this meal with. Some people in England also like to eat their chips with a special curry sauce slathered on them. Malt vinegar is a very popular addition to fish, and with the delicious tang, it will make National Fish and Chip Day flavorful and authentic!
Worth noting on the subject of Fish and Chips is the fact that in England they are almost always served with mushy peas. That’s right, peas that have been soaked, boiled, softened and mashed up — on purpose. It’s a bit of a tradition and, even though it’s well-known that many English folks don’t like this soggy pile of green mush on their plates, it just doesn’t seem quite right without them!
Get Involved with National Fish and Chip Day Events in the UK
Up to 60 million (or more) people have gotten involved with Fish & Chip Day events each year! NEODA provides Chip Shops throughout the UK with promotions, decorations and marketing campaigns to help their customers get the most out of celebrating the day. They even give away an award for the best Fish and Chip Shop of the year.
Wearing special t-shirts, caps, and other merchandise with the Fish & Chip Day logo are a fun way to celebrate the day. Those who want to get involved or order a t-shirt can get more information here.
Grab a Fish and Chips Meal in America
In America, fish and chips can be found in everything from corner burger shops as part of their fry menu, to some of the most upscale restaurants which provide them with only the best cod and sides.
However, depending on where they are acquired, it is likely that Fish & Chips served in America may not come with proper British “chips” but might be something more like thinner potato fries! The restaurants in the US that are most likely to serve this meal will be seafood chains, such as Long John Silver’s or Red Lobster. (In the past, both of these restaurants have been known to offer deals or coupons in honor of this important day.) Fish and Chips truly is a meal that crosses all the boundaries of culture, class, and status. No matter who is eating it, it’s time to enjoy the celebration of National Fish and Chip Day!