Immigrants gave us fish and chips

It was Spanish Jews who settled in England in the 17th century who introduced fish fried in batter, and in 1860 Joseph Malin opened the first fish and chip shop in London, selling “fish fried in the Jewish manner.” Chips, or deep fried pieces of potato, appeared at about the same time, and the advent of North Sea trawling plus ease of internal transport soon made fish and chips a working class staple.

As a boy I used to buy “fish and chips” (cod) wrapped in newspaper for 7 pre-decimal pence, or “haddock and chips” for 8 pence. Now EU rules mean the fish has to be named so it is “cod and chips” or “whatever and chips” rather than just “fish.” It’s cheap and nourishing, and many restaurants offer their version of it. I had some for lunch at the excellent Varsity restaurant at 35 St Andrews Street in Cambridge.

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