How to eat: chips
September 29, 2014 5:00 AM   Subscribe

 
Note: That's chips. Not crisps.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:05 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Overthinking a plate of chips.
posted by chavenet at 5:09 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hold on, I'm just figuring out 'bisquits'....
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:12 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Vast amounts of salt and vinegar (malt vinegar) is the ONLY thing you want on your chips. I have never understood how so much of the world can get this so wrong.
posted by samworm at 5:13 AM on September 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


As if I'd take culinary advice from the nation that invented salad cream.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:13 AM on September 29, 2014 [33 favorites]


I'm amazed that article doesn't mention the weird "chip spice" they use up around Hull and its environs.
posted by sobarel at 5:14 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


A dusting of salt and a malt vinegar drench is all I require.
posted by Renoroc at 5:14 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Insulting poutine? A chip too far. If you think cheese curds on fries are gross it's because you've either never had the real deal, or because you are insane. I suppose it could be both.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:15 AM on September 29, 2014 [28 favorites]


The most important thing is of course this: vinegar first, then the salt. Pretty much every chip shop does it backwards, presumably because they apply it in the order they say it. Why on earth would you sprinkle salt evenly over your chips and then wash it all to the bottom of the paper? Vinegar on first, I say, and then the salt has something to stick to.
posted by pipeski at 5:22 AM on September 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


Adding to the salt and malt vinegar vote (best eaten while sitting on a sea wall with your dad after a day at the beach, with sand in your socks and sea water stinging your eyes, watching people trudge back to their cars and occasionally throwing the crunchy end bits of your battered sausage to the gulls).

The only exception I'll make is if the chips are sopping up the sauce as a side to a fry-up on the morning after the night before, in which case the only acceptable serving is with ketchup and wrapped in a slice of white bread and butter, with a big mug of tea and afternoon nap in front of the telly to follow.
posted by fight or flight at 5:22 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Salt, and sauce. Edinburgh style.
posted by artaxerxes at 5:24 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Echoing nathancaswell, can we pause for a moment to consider the phrase "salad cream?" Is there another pair of innocuous words that, when put together, sound more disgusting than "salad cream?"
posted by nushustu at 5:24 AM on September 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


sobarel, why does it surprise you that a journalist at a national newspaper hasn't been to Hull?
posted by pmcp at 5:28 AM on September 29, 2014


> Is there another pair of innocuous words that, when put together, sound more disgusting than "salad cream?"

Daddie's Sauce
posted by ardgedee at 5:30 AM on September 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


My girlfriend is English and when she gets sad she eats salad cream sandwiches as some sort of repulsive comfort food and there is literally nothing more upsetting than watching someone you care about eat a salad cream sandwich in tear-streaked mascara.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:32 AM on September 29, 2014 [67 favorites]


No mayo, no deal.

Apart from that and the unreasoning hatred of poutine, quite sensible.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:35 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


>Vast amounts of salt and vinegar (malt vinegar) is the ONLY thing you want on your chips.

I have never seen the word "hollandaise" misspelled so egregiously.
posted by ardgedee at 5:36 AM on September 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I remember when The Guardian was a newspaper.

No salt, plenty of vinegar, HP sauce optional. Job done.
posted by Decani at 5:37 AM on September 29, 2014


Gravy. With or without cheese curds. Also possibly bacon. Vinegar is a cleaning solution, not a food.
posted by Mogur at 5:39 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


> Is there another pair of innocuous words that, when put together, sound more disgusting than "salad cream?"

gelatine salads

I'll be properly ashamed of our salad cream if the USA denounces -- man, woman, child -- those revolting hunks of wobbly evil.
posted by NoiselessPenguin at 5:39 AM on September 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I remember when The Guardian was a newspaper.

Today's newspaper, tomorrow's chip wrapper.
posted by sobarel at 5:39 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


There have been so many times that I have tried to extol the virtues of curry gravy/chip sauce (the whole spectrum - from the dark brown to nearly transparent gold) to my fellow Americans who have never tried it. Alas, it rarely succeeds, and only then if they have previously tried and liked Indian food and ponder the concept for a moment. To some, I might as well be talking about some exotic sauce made from moon dust and ground centipedes.

Oh, what I wouldn't give for easy access to a 'proper' curry, chips, or kebab right now. In Chicago, there is a huge selection of Indian restaurants, but none that have that unique 'Raj-style' (is that the right term?) combination from the UK I so dearly adore.
posted by chambers at 5:41 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


He leaves out a key part of English chip eating tradition which is to be sure and leave half the chips in a congealed mass on grease soaked paper somewhere on the high street preferably near a bus shelter. If there is a garbage bin place on top of or beside the bin but never in the bin.
posted by srboisvert at 5:44 AM on September 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


The writer's dismissal of poutine makes me suspect I am to blame for that. Sorry again, John.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:46 AM on September 29, 2014


NoiselessPenguin: "I'll be properly ashamed of our salad cream if the USA denounces -- man, woman, child -- those revolting hunks of wobbly evil."

I'm firmly in the heart of Middle America and I haven't seen a Jello salad in 20 years. It would be difficult for most people to denounce something that they don't know exists. (Push polls notwithstanding!)
posted by notsnot at 5:49 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


My Warringtonian friend tells me that there was a chip shop there where the spécialité de la maison was chips with ground Mini Cheddar biscuits on top. I'm simultaneously awed and dismayed.
posted by sobarel at 5:49 AM on September 29, 2014


How to eat CHiPs? First suck a little Ponch, then go down on Jon. You can give Sergeant Getraer a "happy ending" if you want. Either way you'll get out of that speeding ticket.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


That's the worst thing any human being has ever written.
posted by sobarel at 5:54 AM on September 29, 2014 [22 favorites]


Chips are vast; they contain multitudes.

On the subject of both curry chips and poutine, all I can say is: Y NOT BOTH?

Take a fair whack of your favourite curry paste. Sautee briefly over high heat, maybe with some garlic, and some chopped up tomatoes. Add as much coconut milk as you need, reduce slightly to thicken. Pour over chips which have been liberally interspersed with either curds or shredded mozzarella.

This was a ridiculously popular kitchen snack at a restaurant I used to work at.

Reminds me, I should put my smoked chicken poutine recipe on my blog. Today's project!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:57 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh god ... I think you're right.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:58 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Rhode Island/Southeastern MA does the vinegar-on-fries thing, to the point where most of the local mom'n'pop restaurants and pubs put a clear squeeze bottle next to the yellow and red ones on every table, or a little glass vinegar shaker if they're all fancy. Usually white vinegar rather than malt, unless it's a seafood place with cloth napkins and wines by the bottle and crap, or a confused national chain who'll put a bottle of Heinz' Malt on the table.

On the other hand, I understand they slather on the mayo in Philly, so YMMV.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:59 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am in London this week for work and will be spending my time between these three locations. Any UK mefites know of a good place I could get some chips close by? I am now inspired.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:00 AM on September 29, 2014


I'm firmly in the heart of Middle America and I haven't seen a Jello salad in 20 years.

You haven't been to any picnics with my extended family, then. At a gathering in August, there were 4 different jello-based salads on the food table (out of maybe 15 total). Yikes.

Speaking as an American with limited (but some) exposure to UK chips, and malt vinegar as a condiment at places in the US such as fish fry joints and Five Guys burgers -- as much as I like the taste of malt vinegar it seems a sure way to make the chips/fries soggy (or soggier), which to me is a minus. Maybe wanting crispy chips/fries in the first place is an American thing?
posted by aught at 6:02 AM on September 29, 2014


We might (nominally, most areas) have poutine, but I wish it was possible to get proper English chip shop chips in Canada - fat, pale, boiled then fried chips. I've never seen anyone even attempt to make English chips here.

Also, I think white vinegar is far better than malt, or cider. I'm sure places think they're being all upscale and classy by offering malt vinegar, but all it does is add an extra flavour to your chips that you don't need. All you need is the sourness. Plus it's weaker.
posted by Flashman at 6:03 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


the British the last people that should be providing scolding food advice.
posted by Ferreous at 6:04 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Any UK mefites know of a good place I could get some chips close by?

Yes, The Regency Cafe. The best and last proper greasy spoon in Westminster. Get two eggs, two bacon, two sausage, beans and chips (and if you're still hungry after that, a slab of bread and butter pudding). Write off the rest of the afternoon to be spent in blissful drowsy carb haze.

Failing that, The Laughing Halibut has some of the best fish & chips in central London.
posted by fight or flight at 6:07 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


"occasionally throwing the crunchy end bits of your battered sausage to the gulls"

In my experience throwing anything to the gulls is asking to be dive-bombed by huge flocks of ravenous birds who won't stop till you've abandoned your supper and fled whimpering for cover.
posted by ComfySofa at 6:11 AM on September 29, 2014


Slap*Happy Rhode Island/Southeastern MA does the vinegar-on-fries thing

That's popular up and down the East Coast, especially at boardwalk-style beach resorts. Ocean City, Maryland has Thrasher's which is traditionally eaten with salt and vinegar.

I do vinegar sometimes, though usually I do Old Bay and ketchup or bbq sauce. Mayonnaise works if it's homemade, out of a jar and it's revolting.

NoiselessPenguin: "I'll be properly ashamed of our salad cream if the USA denounces -- man, woman, child -- those revolting hunks of wobbly evil."

I know they have to be out there somewhere, but I've never actually seen an American willingly eat Jello. It was always some sort of grandmom-made-it-so-take-a-bite situation.
posted by spaltavian at 6:11 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thanks fight or flight.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:11 AM on September 29, 2014


'British food is terrible' is really lazy and gets old real fast.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:13 AM on September 29, 2014 [16 favorites]


I have never had chips with vinegar. Round where I live chips are served with steaks to sop up the juices. More than one waiter, on being asked to bring me a bottle of ketchup, has asked if I were American (the answer is yes).
posted by lollymccatburglar at 6:19 AM on September 29, 2014


Echoing nathancaswell, can we pause for a moment to consider the phrase "salad cream?" Is there another pair of innocuous words that, when put together, sound more disgusting than "salad cream?"
posted by nushustu at 9:24 PM on September 29


My wife, recently:
"I keep seeing commercials for those lady yogurts, but never anything for man yogurt. OH NO GROSS WHY WOULD ANYONE PUT THOSE WORDS TOGETHER"
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:22 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


really lazy and gets old real fast.

JUST LIKE THE BRITISH HEY-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
posted by Greg Nog at 6:24 AM on September 29, 2014 [17 favorites]


What's wrong with salad cream? It's a perfectly tasty tangy topping.
posted by Flashman at 6:29 AM on September 29, 2014


Ketchup is the reason.
Fries are just the excuse.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:30 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


The writer says to pair chips with "pop." I've noticed Brits say "pop" rather than "soda." In America, people who say "pop" are often considered Midwestern hicks or doofuses. But, hey, if it's good enough for the Brits, it's good enough for me.
posted by ChuckRamone at 6:31 AM on September 29, 2014


Aizkolari - Golden Hind in Marylebone does great fish and chips. Its near the lovely Daunt Books as well, which is great if you like bookshops.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 6:32 AM on September 29, 2014


I think pop might be a northern thing. It's generally known as soft drink.
posted by goo at 6:33 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think pop might be a northern thing. It's generally known as soft drink.

Soft Drinks down these South Coast parts. Which amuses me. The whole class name of drinks is defined by its lack of alcohol.
posted by generichuman at 6:44 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm amazed that article doesn't mention the weird "chip spice" they use up around Hull and its environs.

I'm pretty sure it's MSG and had no idea it was limited to Hull. I'm sure I've seen it in a number of places. Though I own that I most associate it with Goldenfry just off Victoria Square, which seems to be very keen on it.
posted by Thing at 6:50 AM on September 29, 2014


Dissing curly fries? Aww hell no!

(MA/RI represent! Malt vinegar is wonderful, and you can have my Spike's curly fries when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers)
posted by tocts at 6:52 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't know what salad cream is, and I'm fine with that. It sounds so horrifying I just can't even google it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:52 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Another sauce worth noting is Edinburgh chippie sauce, a city where they ask "salt and sauce?" just after they finish applying it.
posted by Magnakai at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2014


It sounds so horrifying I just can't even google it.

it is the vile ejaculate of the morningstar himself
posted by poffin boffin at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


That article didn't just insult 30-somethings eating chicken nuggets! Time to get the DIY V2 kit assembled.
posted by pseudocode at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2014


Salad cream is effectively Miracle Whip with maybe a bit more vinegar taste. Be not afraid.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2014


Adding to the salt and malt vinegar vote (best eaten while sitting on a sea wall with your dad after a day at the beach, with sand in your socks and sea water stinging your eyes, watching people trudge back to their cars and occasionally throwing the crunchy end bits of your battered sausage to the gulls).

Don't forget, it's probably raining.
posted by glasseyes at 6:56 AM on September 29, 2014


'Chips' are best plain. Not enough flavor? Something's wrong with your tongue.
posted by nerdler at 7:00 AM on September 29, 2014


The vinegar flavour is not really what's so off-putting about vinegar'd chips, it's the nasty mealy sogginess of the chips post-vinegaring. Why would you choose such a thing, why don't you love yourselves.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:00 AM on September 29, 2014


Yea I like vinegar but it makes too soggy. So then I add tomato to my vinegar, thicken it up, and dip the fries/chips in one-by-one. Also: poutine is the greatest drunk food ever & curry has no place near fries.
posted by dame at 7:02 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Chili, cheese, a fried egg on top, and the phone number of a reliable heart surgeon nearby.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:07 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Vast amounts of salt and vinegar (malt vinegar) is the ONLY thing you want on your chips. I have never understood how so much of the world can get this so wrong.

Malt vinegar smells nasty. If someone opens a bottle of it at my table I'm going to start backing my chair up. If they leave it open, I'm flipping the table instead.
posted by Foosnark at 7:07 AM on September 29, 2014


Mostly I agree with this piece but sorry, well done sweet potato fries are absolutely sublime.
posted by dubitable at 7:08 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Get two eggs, two bacon, two sausage, beans and chips (and if you're still hungry after that, a slab of bread and butter pudding).

DON'T! Don't. Don't do that.

Chips and curry sauce and chips and gravy are just right if you're unaccountably hollow inside and still have a load of furniture to shift and not much more than 2 quid after searching all of your pockets. Chips and salt and vinegar is more for the connoisseur times like. At your ease on a bench in the rain with the seagulls, looking for the silver lining and the odd steam train. Ah! Don't get much more use for intestinal fortitude than a British seaside holiday in June.
posted by glasseyes at 7:09 AM on September 29, 2014


If the vinegar makes your chips soggy, you're eating too slowly.
posted by pipeski at 7:10 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


The most disgusting variation I ever saw was in the outskirts of manchester and was chips and peawet. Which is chips polluted by the runoff of mushy peas. The horror.

As far as chip spice goes, I believe you're talking about Yankeeburger, where I spent a lot of dinner money in my youth. Then I put away childish things and went to Carvers. Best chips in the UK. (Though since I think vinegar and salad cream are both the work of satan, I may have odd taste and they may confiscate my passport soon)
posted by finisterre at 7:10 AM on September 29, 2014


I do malt vinegar and salt. If I go to a restaurant around here that serves fries and they don't have malt vinegar upon request, I won't go back.

I don't mind soggy fries (I'm weird, I also prefer soggy cereal), but if that's a problem for you, just apply the vinegar as you go. Use just enough to coat the layer of fries you're eating, or use it on the side and dip.

Proper poutine is one of the most amazing things on Earth, but there's too many mediocre variants even in Quebec. It also seems to be catching on as the next big hipster food in New England, which means we'll have even more mediocre versions to avoid...

(Eastern MA born/raised, Central MA located, Quebecois ancestry.)
posted by rollbiz at 7:11 AM on September 29, 2014


the nasty mealy sogginess of the chips post-vinegaring. Why would you choose such a thing, why don't you love yourselves.

I think perhaps you're not familiar with the fat and tasty twice-fried in dripping British chip. Those things are solid and need some vinegar to mobilise the grease. When cold, they congeal. When hot, they are ecstasy. There's this existential thing where you have to struggle to eat enough to sate yourself before they turn revolting or degueuelasse as they say across the water
posted by glasseyes at 7:14 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Typical bloomin’ Guardian foodie article. Eat them however you like, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Freshly cooked chunky chips with salt and vinegar are wonderful… as are chips with curry sauce… or with chili and cheese… or mayo...

And as for poutine, I had a properly done poutine in Montreal last year and it was a revelation. Just the thing after a couple of beers at Les Soeurs Grises. My arteries are glad I live a few thousand miles away ;-)

(But if you go to the Regency Cafe, don’t take a seat before you order, or they’ll yell at you)
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 7:18 AM on September 29, 2014


As far as chip spice goes, I believe you're talking about Yankeeburger, where I spent a lot of dinner money in my youth. Then I put away childish things and went to Carvers. Best chips in the UK.

I think Bob Carver's was the last place I had chips wrapped in actual newspaper.
posted by Thing at 7:19 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would love to try poutine. It sounds like proper winter food.
posted by glasseyes at 7:20 AM on September 29, 2014


Malt vinegar (aka acetic acid) is awful.
posted by Segundus at 7:22 AM on September 29, 2014


Dearest Thing -- go to hull fair and you still can
posted by finisterre at 7:22 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do they still do chips in newspaper anywhere? I thought food safety regulations did away with it. Newsprint, but not your actual newspaper anymore.

It's like a folk memory and I have known people serve chips at a dinner bring a dish thing that were served in newspaper. But that was a bit arty and pointed.
posted by glasseyes at 7:23 AM on September 29, 2014


I've tried different toppings on fries but still always go back to Heinz Ketchup.
posted by octothorpe at 7:24 AM on September 29, 2014


Malt vinegar (aka acetic acid) is awful.

White vinegar is pure acetic acid diluted with water. Malt vinegar actually has flavour. (Asmittedly most of the time that flavour is, like 99% of everything sold as 'balasmic,' courtesy of caramel colour and some other bits and pieces, but eh).

Besides, apple cider vinegar is so much better on fries, if you're going that way.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I once ate chips and gravy off of a naked woman*. Newspaper has since declined in favor for me.

*consensually**
**at a party***
***she had the gravy cup nestled between her thighs and spent the rest of the night utterly delighted that people kept telling her she smelt delicious
posted by fight or flight at 7:28 AM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Surely there's a way to impregnate fries with vinegar flavor before frying? That way, one could get all the wonderful pissy flavor of vinegar without the sogginess of vinegared fries. This bears looking into.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2014


A small spritz bottle--you can get them at basically any dollar store--gives flavour without sog. No sog for Greg Nog.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:31 AM on September 29, 2014


As if I'd take culinary advice from the nation that invented salad cream.

Aka Miracle Whip in the US.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:49 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The main problem with this article (other than that the author is 100% wrong about cheese, and thus also about the acceptability of chips as a side to lasagne as well as poutine), is that they don't recognise that the scollop, the glorious, noble, potato scollop, is supposed to be eaten as well as the chips, not instead of them. Ideally, one should have the scollop in a bun, thus battering a carb with a carb, putting it between carbs, and eating it with salty carbs.

ps: 'Sog' is (or should be) an official food group in the UK, and ought to be better appreciated. It's often the best bit of a meal.
posted by AFII at 7:50 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


You can buy powdered vinegar and sprinkle it on your fries! And your chips! And your fried chicken! And sometimes on mashed potatoes! And greens! And maybe I have a vinegar problem, but whatever--it's delicious, and this way it's never soggy.
posted by MeghanC at 7:50 AM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


In the same way that other people love chocolate, I love chips and gravy. When I go to new places, sightseeing is all well and good and meeting new people is great, but what i'm really excited about is new places to try chips and gravy variations.

I've tried a huge breadth of them and by god, for something with only two ingredients you'd be astonished how many places manage to fuck it up. Cook chips! Add gravy! This should be simple. But no.

Anyway, with this in mind, I can say with some experience that the best example in Australia is located in rural New South Wales. (I will furnish a store name upon request.)

This store is also the place i'd walk past every morning on my way to high school and frequently my friends and I would stop to buy chips and gravy on the way.

One morning, seemingly like any other, a terrible challenge was given: twenty bucks was on the line if someone would profane the sacred chips and gravy pairing by throwing BBQ sauce and mayonnaise on it too. God help me, but I took that dare.

The look on the store owner's (who knew me so well at this point that I had only to call and as soon as he heard my voice would automatically throw some chips on) face was pure horror and confusion. He made me say it three times before he believed I really wanted such a thing. Then he asked again once the chips were done, as if to make sure the intervening five minutes hadn't brought me to my senses.

But I wanted that twenty bucks and also I was trying to impress a boy, so I drew myself up and tried not to look alarmed when I nodded.

And you know what? It was fantastic. It looked like something Satan had thrown up after a Vegas bender and i'd routinely use it to horrify people over the coming years, but it was sensational.

So to add to the article writer's list, I give you: chips/gravy/BBQ sauce/mayonnaise.

(The BBQ sauce must be slightly spicy and the mayonnaise slightly tangy.)

I suggest trying it in front of other people, in such a manner that you can induce them to bet you money that you won't eat it. In this way I give you both a good meal and $20 to toast my health when you love it.

[The store owner, when I moved to the other side of the country, gave me the name of the gravy they used as a farewell gift and I have never appreciated a present more. ]
posted by pseudonymph at 8:09 AM on September 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


My favorite is that Dutch thing where they serve up spicy peanut sauce (like on chicken satay) with chips, but curry, chili, poutine, cheese/jalapeno/onion, salt n vinegar, habanero ketchup, or just salt are all ok. Get thee hence mayo unless it's homemade.

Also, I know they don't have the ideal fry texture, but I quite like potato wedges. Maybe because the steamy inner core means the ideal temperature lasts longer than three seconds.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:09 AM on September 29, 2014


In Chicago, there is a huge selection of Indian restaurants, but none that have that unique 'Raj-style' (is that the right term?) combination from the UK I so dearly adore.

Jolly Posh on Southport imports British foods. Maybe they have something like what you're looking for?
posted by dnash at 8:10 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, and cheddar plus horseradish is supposedly delicious.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:11 AM on September 29, 2014


people kept telling her she smelt delicious

obligatory Bodington's advert
posted by glasseyes at 8:22 AM on September 29, 2014


Fries are to chips like

bottled own-brand fizzy water to mango juice

starbucks latte to chai brewed on a wood fire in the bush

Cumberbatch to Brian Blessed Prince Vultan

Quinto to Shatner (sic)
posted by glasseyes at 8:38 AM on September 29, 2014


Jolly Posh on Southport imports British foods. Maybe they have something like what you're looking for?

That place is great - my wife found it and presented a bunch of assorted goodness for my birthday a few years back, and that and Patel's groceries are my go-to place for my DIY attempts at creating my own versions of what I miss.

However, I haven't found a place that can make them like the late night, after-closing deliciousness I found in the UK. There used to be a place in Edison Park called the Chipper that had excellent chip-shop fries before it closed. Vaughn's on NW Highway just south of there, and The Globe Pub in North Center both do fish and chips with out-of-this-world fish and chips with curry sauce, but the search continues for just the right curry place.
posted by chambers at 8:45 AM on September 29, 2014


And, please, do not try and tell me that poutine is, essentially, chips and gravy. The Canadians use a, ahem, paltry gravy (usually chicken or turkey) and they put fresh cheese curds on it.

That he describes it as chicken/turkey gravy alone disqualifies him from comment.

It's true that there is some dispute as to what the proper gravy for poutine should be, but the goal is always to achieve a happy balance between too-heavy beef demiglaces and bodyless chicken-based sauces. A beef stock has too much umph; chicken is too light. Fortunately, there are several good answers to the problem. The more up-scale is veal stock stock base, but the common fry-truck solution is a half beef, half chicken preparation.

The thing that makes a good poutine gravy glorious is that mid-point between the of depth of flavour from the beef with the lighter notes of the chicken stock, all counter-balanced against the bite of the pepper. A proper poutine gravy also benefits from a bit of vinegar, as can be seen in the Chuck Hughes recipe.

This meaty, sharp, slightly soured base complements the crunchy outside/interior creaminess of the fries and provides a showcase for fresh, salty curds to melt on top. It's all about the marriage of flavour from the gravy and texture and mouthfeel from the fries and the cheese. Get one of the three wrong, like using a chicken gravy, and it just doesn't taste right.
posted by bonehead at 8:58 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Am I the only person that eats fries dunked into a mix of sour cream and yellow mustard?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:05 AM on September 29, 2014


Mayo + Ketchup + hint of A1 + HP sauce + bacon bits = spreadable, dunk-able, lo-fi goodness for burgers and fries.

I just realized I need to try to add that to a breading mix and then deep or pan fry things with it.
posted by chambers at 9:25 AM on September 29, 2014


Am I the only person that eats fries dunked into a mix of sour cream and yellow mustard?

Yes, but that sounds delicious. Sour cream is like the non-evil version of mayonnaise.
posted by threeants at 9:25 AM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sour cream and "curry" powder.
posted by bonehead at 9:31 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The best fries (chips) come from the best potatoes. the best potatoes come from Peru. Honestly, you haven't had fries til you've had them in Peru, no matter how you take 'em.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:58 AM on September 29, 2014


Every serving comes with two to three green ones. These are to be eaten last, approximately five minutes after the rest.
posted by smugly rowan at 10:19 AM on September 29, 2014


Orange* chips are superior to all other kinds of chips. They must be eaten hot, with "non-brewed condiment", or if you're in the right shop, with pickling vinegar.

An early memory of mine is going to the chip shop and getting a massive pickled onion. They're larger than a golf ball ans snow white. Tangy and fresh and crisp. The vinegar is sublime. I was often given the onion to eat while waiting for the rest of the order as a kid, by Midge, the woman who ran the chippy. Good times.

If you're ever near to Birmingham in the UK, head to the Black Country Living Museum and try the fish and chips there. They're fried in beef dripping and are divine.

They're chips, but fried in a very thin batter, turning them orange. Think tempura chips, only different.
posted by Solomon at 1:21 PM on September 29, 2014


He also dared to dis the scallop! Entirely unavailable here darn sarf, I've taken to making my own - a tablespoon of custard powder in the batter gives it the requisite colour and crispiness. The potato has to be the perfect thickness for them to be good though, I'd say 4mm is about right. My perfect (vegetarian) burger is a fried egg, fried onion, potato scallop, cheese, tomato, lettuce and barbecue sauce on a toasted bun. Utterly impossible to get here in the UK, and I've been trying for more than a decade.

Another classic addition to chips is chicken salt, which no-one outside of Australia or NZ has ever heard of.
posted by goo at 1:25 PM on September 29, 2014


Nobody ever seems to even consider it, but salt and lemon juice are just perfect together on fries
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:38 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Canadians use a, ahem, paltry gravy (usually chicken or turkey) and they put fresh cheese curds on it. In the name of all that is holy, why?

"Why?" asked the man who never tried poutine.

Look, I love chips with salt and vinegar too and sometimes will opt for that when I'm at a chip shop, but poutine is absurdly good and this if this man's imagination can't envision why both cheese and gravy on chips is fantastic while he seems to like both items on chips individually, well...perhaps stick to the canned beans circuit, Mr Food Reviewer Man.
posted by Hoopo at 4:06 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


+1 for salt and vinegar chips. I always loved salt and vinegar American chips (crisps) as a kid and it BLEW MY MIND to discover I could have fries that way too.

Poutine is good, but really you can hold the cheese curds; I'm just here for the gravy.

It has always amused me how often my fellow Americans get weird about dipping fries in mayo, but add some garlic to it and call it "aioli" and suddenly it's the new foodie hotness.

I also think we're leaving out an important element of the discussion, which is the amazing Australian contribution to chip consumption: chicken salt. Holy crap that stuff is like crack in a shaker bottle.

Also, remember that salad cream is brought to you by the same country that came up with spotted dick. Really, Britain, a lot of your food is actually perfectly good. You just need to work on your nomenclature.
posted by olinerd at 4:43 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


in honor of this thread and also in honor of my inability to correctly calculate the groceries i would normally consume within a fortnight i am having sausage egg and chips for dinner
posted by poffin boffin at 4:58 PM on September 29, 2014


I shudder to think of the psychological damage the author would suffer were he to discover the existence of chili cheese tater tots.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:10 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


amazing Australian contribution to chip consumption: chicken salt. Holy crap that stuff is like crack in a shaker bottle

Hey, I was wrong! No one outside of Australia, NZ and olinerd has heard of chicken salt :)
posted by goo at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh lord. These fools have apparently never eaten fries the way they were intended to be eaten: Smothered in roasted green chile sauce and topped with melted cheese.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 7:42 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Chicken salt is super easy to make!

Take chicken skins (f you know a butcher, they're dead cheap). Roast until nice and crispy. Throw into a blender with an equal part by weight of maltodextrin (available online or at health food/weightlifting stores), and kosher salt. Blend. Done!

Also works with bacon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:08 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


mmmmm chicken salt. Best. I used to douse my chips in it as a kid and I'd take a bite and my tongue would flinch like I'd just done it great violence, so the overwhelming impression was flavour. Delicious.

And now I want chicken-salted chips. BRB.
posted by E. Whitehall at 9:16 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't like mayonnaise unless it's fresh and covered up with lots of other stuff and purely textural and agree that sour cream is its non evil substitute especially for artichoke dip. However I did have a good mustard mayo sauce with some "frites" recently and it was pretty good. The shop sells belgian style frites, ales, and hot dogs and sausages with steamed poppy seed buns. Not bad. They have a bunch of sauces but most are straightforward combinations of two things like Sriracha ketchup or ranch dressing with ghost chili powder. So yeah that mayo and mustard comment made me double take and then I realized I could connect to that after the sour cream comment. Thanks
posted by aydeejones at 9:40 PM on September 29, 2014


Also my secret to malt vinegar distribution is to stripe it across the top of the stack without drenching them, or just gargle with a little before eating a mouthful. That last part was fake but now I'm curious.

Also did ya'll hear that chocolate is required to be full of stearic acid by law? Ick! Acid
posted by aydeejones at 9:44 PM on September 29, 2014


All this and no mention of ranch dressing, the one true bride of fries? Sure, it's an American heresy, but a delicious one, and just next door to mayo and vinegar. Best is homemade buttermilk ranch. I am approaching the day when I carry my own and with me.

This chicken salt business is very intriguing.
posted by MsMacbeth at 2:55 AM on September 30, 2014


That explanation of "chicken salt" reminds me of one of my favorite Chicago foodie things: the "Ham Frites" at The Girl and the Goat. Fries tossed with rendered pork fat, sprinkled with dehydrated ham powder, and served with dipping sauces. OMG SO GOOD.
posted by dnash at 8:19 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Poutine is good, but really you can hold the cheese curds; I'm just here for the gravy.

haha what that doesnt even makes sense
posted by Hoopo at 10:40 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I got sidetracked yesterday, so here it is, smoked chicken poutine (self link).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


He also dared to dis the scallop! ...
Another classic addition to chips is chicken salt, which no-one outside of Australia or NZ has ever heard of.

Potato scallops, properly cooked, are divine! There's a real art to it, thought, in making sure they're just the right amount of crispy and cooked right through. Also an art in making sure you have just the right scallop/chip ration so that you eat them together and they are both finished at the same time. But maybe that's just me.

Chicken salt is indeed awesome, although I didn't know it had actual chicken in it and probably doesn't in most cases, I suspect. 'Crack in a shaker jar' indeed.

I love the taste of vinegar on chips, but hate soggy chips, which is a shame. The idea of powdered vinegar sounds great, but how do you even do that?
posted by dg at 3:32 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Assuming vinegar behaves roughly the same as alcohol (which may be a poor assumption; I haven't tried this with vinegar), equal parts by weight of vinegar and maltodextrin. Pass through a tamis extremely fine sieve; something you'd use to sift flour should also work) to make a very fine powder.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:34 PM on September 30, 2014


...or apparently sodium acetate is the flavouring on salt and vinegar chips (crisps), which should do approximately the same job.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:38 PM on September 30, 2014


Yeah, as great as fffm's recipe sounds I think most chicken salt used in takeaways contains little, if any, actual chicken. MSG is undoubtedly the dominant ingredient, and grand it is.
posted by goo at 6:28 PM on October 1, 2014


Chicken salt sounds like schmaltz. Also, gremolata on fries is good too for those that like lemon.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:45 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Scmaltz is just rendered chicken fat. And while you can powder it (melt, blend 1/1 with maltodextrin), it liquefies again on the tongue, which would leave you with very greasy fries.

+1000000000000000000000 for the gremolata idea though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:37 AM on October 2, 2014


Chicken salt as served on Australian chips is pretty much just salt, MSG and anti-caking stuff. And some colouring to make it yellow. You can make it at home.
I think the Saxa stuff below is the usual catering version, but I can't find an ingredients list online anywhere:
http://barrettsshoppe.com/products/saxa-chicken-salt-3kg

Anchor foods make a version sold in the supermarket which is needlessly complex, in my opinion:
http://shop.coles.com.au/online/national/anchor-salt-chicken-chippy

It may also be confused with other seasoning products intended *for* chicken, but that isn't what we are talking about here.
E.g. http://www.masterfoods.com.au/herbs-spices/seasoning-blends/chicken-salt/
posted by bystander at 12:02 AM on October 9, 2014


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