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500 Years of Fish and Chips

You can find fish and chips practically anywhere in the British Isles. “Chippies”—the humble stands that sell battered and fried white fish with “chips” (that’s fries for us on this side of the pond)—are more plentiful in the United Kingdom than McDonald’s or Starbucks locations.

Though the stands have been around for more than 150 years, the dish itself is even older, having been brought to London by Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Portugal and Spain in the 1500s. Thomas Jefferson, the American founding father, even wrote about eating “fried fish in the Jewish fashion” after his visit to London in the late 1700s. 

The Industrial Revolution helped fish and chips grow in popularity during the 1870s in London. New steam-trawling boats brought white fish from the North Sea; railways carried the fish inland while new ice machines kept the catches cold along the way. The cheap, nourishing food grew in popularity as a quick and easy way for the urban factory and mill workers to keep their bellies full.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Really, it is.

Fish and chips have a remarkable place in history. 

Charles Dickens refers to a “fried fish warehouse” in his London-based novel Oliver Twist.

Historians even credit fish and chips with helping the British prevail in both World War I and World War II. During the First World War, the British government safeguarded supplies of fish and potatoes, because government officials believed people needed fish and chips to keep their spirits up. They continued that wisdom during the Second World War, with British prime minister Winston Churchill calling fish and chips “the good companions.” Fish and chips were so important that they were the only foods British officials never rationed. 

In fact, when British troops landed on Normandy’s beaches on D-Day, they identified each other by calling out “fish” and waiting for a response of “chips.”

Nowadays, fish and chips are available all around the world, from grab-and-go stands to fine-dining establishments. Chefs have found their own ways to interpret the dish, as well—sometimes incorporating unusual sauces, side dishes and high-quality seafood. 

Brothers Fish and Chips makes our version the traditional way. Customers have a choice of fish—wild Alaskan cod, black sea bass or flounder—dipped in batter made with beer from local breweries. The chips are fresh, hand-cut potatoes. And it’s all served with creamy coleslaw, homemade tartar sauce and malt vinegar. 

In true chippie fashion, we began by selling the fish and chips as to-go only in 2011 and then, in 2016, opened a cozy full restaurant and bar next door.

Proof that fish and chips can be dressed up or down, Brothers’ full restaurant menu also features gorgeously plated fine dining seafood options like paella, ceviche and inspired chef’s daily creations—such as wild shrimp and microgreens over a squid ink risotto.

Stop in Brothers Fish and Chips to try the dish that’s won wars, inspired writers and politicians and has kept an entire nation happily nourished for hundreds of years.

 

Brothers Fish’ n Chips

172 N. Highland Ave.
Ossining, NY 10562
914-488-5141
http://www.brothersfishandchips.com


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