Fish and chips is a traditional English dish that has been popular with the working class since the mid nineteenth century. The idea of hot, fried fish sold from street stalls may have been introduced by French, Spanish or Jewish immigrants. During World War 2 it was one of the few foods not to be rationed and many believe the availability of such a comforting meal helped sustain working class morale through the intense bombing raids in the cities.
For those of you who have never been lucky enough to try this tasty dish, it consists of white fish (usually cod or haddock) deep fried with a golden crispy batter together with fried chipped potatoes. It can be served in a variety of ways; with salt and vinegar or tomato sauce, mushy peas, pickled onions or bread and butter. Originally the fish was cooked in beef dripping but most outlets now use vegetable oil. Despite concerns about the health risks of fried food and the sustainability of fish stocks, fish and chips remains one of the most popular take-outs, particularly in the north. Until the 1980s the food was traditionally wrapped in old newspaper so you could catch up on current affairs while you ate your supper! A childhood day out at the seaside was never complete without getting fish and chips on the way home.
“Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
No-one knows the people of bone
or why my drunken grandpa brought them home
from an auction room on Goldspink Lane,
shipyard wages blown
on beer, cigarettes and porcelain.
Their unexpected arrival, smooth and brittle,
put grandma in a flutter
flapping about with her feather duster,
finding the best place for aristocracy.
The old king with daughter at his knee
and her lover, typecast, ensnared eternally
by some secret quandary,
unaware of their position,
On a white cherry blossom day
I sipped cider with my lover on Goldspink Lane
while Player’s No 6 sucked grandpa away,
left grandma alone with royalty.
No-one knows their story, how it ends.
They hover inside my door, uninvited,
the bone people atop the tall cabinet
next to the clock.
I make my entrances
looking up as I pass by.
Note 1:- The subject of this statue remains a mystery. The figures appear mythological or Shakespearean. The object is about 18 inches tall and is made from Parian Ware, a type of bisque porcelain imitating marble. The material was popular for sculpture in Victorian times and was developed around 1845 by the Staffordshire pottery manufacturer Mintons. It was named after Paros, the Greek island renowned for its fine-textured, white marble. It was prepared in a liquid form and cast in a mould, therefore suitable for mass production.