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Bloody stereo-Typical!

      My friend Roland joked at my expense for writing about eating fish and chips the other day. What he’s not taking into consideration is the British in me is compelled to eat things that most Americans would choose to avoid, whether it be for health reasons or otherwise. I hate to admit it but I am a stereotypical Brit.
I usually hate stereotypes. It’s not because I think that they’re far too often racist-they usually are. It’s because I really am one. I’m British. And yes, I talk differently from you. My teeth aren’t perfect; I like football and beer and pub food.

       Comments about stereotypes come in two different forms: The ones that people say to your face. Often by well meaning galoots, who spend half their day hopping around while trying to remove their other foot from the gaping maw in the lower part of their face.
“You’re English; you must like fish ‘n’ chips,” they’ll say, usually with a dreadful pretend-English accent. While this is not nearly as rude as assuming that a tall African-American is good at basketball, or telling a gay man that he’d be a fabulous florist, or joking to a little person that he’d probably make a good rodeo clown, it’s usually followed by the. “It’s meant as a compliment” defense. It’s still a bit much. Then of course there are just the genuinely mean-spirited stereotype comments, which are usually hateful and something you wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face; which there’s no need to cover here.

                 However, for the sake of this blog and for the sake of Brits everywhere,  I’m going to embrace my stereotype. To such ends, Elvis and I will continue to seek out the best pub-style Fish ‘n’ Chips in the Bay Area.

          Although I already posted the first review from Barclay’s, I thought I should go over my requirements for the perfect restaurant fish ‘n’ chips. What I’m looking for: moist, flaky, clean, white fish. In Britain you’d be expecting cod, pollock, or haddock. In the U.S., snapper works well also, but if you can find fresh cod that would be the way to go. If you’re going to use a beer-batter, the trick is not to let the oil get too hot or the batter will be too crispy and a little burned tasting. However, you do want to make sure the fish is not undercooked. I’m also a big fan of the panko style bread-crumbed fish and although less traditional, restaurants will not be penalized for serving their fish this way.
Chips: not thin cut and definitely not frozen. The chips should be thick-cut and not too crispy. A bit soggy is my personal favorite. Salt and vinegar? You’d better believe it. Thinner chips lose their temperature much quicker; the hotter the chips the better.

          Fish and chips on the go should be served in plain paper, which is THEN wrapped in newspaper. Why would you let printing chemicals near your food? Bad show.

Batter and fry this up for Montgomery Burns, but don’t try to feed it to a Brit.

            Ideally I’m looking for fish and chips that come as close to the way I remember them from home as possible. I’m obviously not a professional food critic, but I have solid taste buds and know what British fish and chips is supposed to taste like. Feel free to comment and offer varying opinions, after all aren’t we all critics?

Over to you, Roland.

© Copyright Matty Stone 2010

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