Brits Recoil at Thought of Peeling the Batter Off Fish and Chips
The Angel Lane Chippie in Penrith, Cumbria knows a little bit about fish and chips. The shop has four years' worth of TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence, has won more than two dozen national awards since father-and-son owners Dave and Dan Harding took over the restaurant in late 2007, and it has even made the list of the United Kingdom's Top 10 Best Fish and Chip shops—and you know there's a lot of competition for that one.
Restaurant critic Grace Dent recently gave Angel Lane a glowing review in her column for The Guardian, praising it as "a shining example of British brilliance," and celebrating its full menu from its "excellent" mushy peas, its sausage selection, and its decidedly unironic decor. But the star of the lunchtime show was the sustainably sourced fish portion of her fish and chips, which she described as "always curly, firm-fleshed and clogged with extra globs of thick batter."
But a day after her review went live, she posted a disturbing remark from an online commenter, one that left her admittedly shook. "This comment has kept me awake," she tweeted, attaching a screenshot. "I. I just. What."
The unidentified person took issue with the batter on Angel Lane's fish and chips—or on any piece of fish—and made everyone either reevaluate their eating habits or wonder how this obvious alien creature had managed to live among humans for so long. "The batter is there to protect the fish during frying, you peel it off, throw it away, then eat the fish," they wrote. "If you bake a fish (or indeed a vegetable) in a salt crust, do you eat that too?"
Dent's replies filled with people who were equally confused by this person's batter-rejection, and the explanation for dropping THE BEST PART OF FISH AND CHIPS into the nearest bin. "I'm sorry what?!?!?," one woman wrote, with an appropriate number of question marks. "This is like when I found out that some people don't have an internal monologue." Another called it "insanity," adding that the fish was only part of the equation so the batter has something to "cling to."
Still others wondered what—and how—this person ate a number of other foods, asking whether he or she might pull the pastry from a pie before eating the filling, toss the bread before eating a sandwich, remove the hard shell from each individual M&Ms, or peel each poor chip before eating the mashed potato in the middle.
Although the past few years have amplified the societal and cultural divides throughout England, and there will forever be a significant difference between the North and the South, it seems like everyone can come together to agree that whoever peels the batter from their fish and chips is absolutely bonkers.
Especially at a place like Angel Lane.