Today is National Fish and Chips Day.
The hot dish consisting of battered, fried or grilled seafood and served with a helping of thinly-sliced potatoes will undoubtedly be on the menu of hundreds of Hunter households this evening.
Originating in England in the 1860s, the pairing of sea creature and earth vegetable is thought to have migrated to Australia in 1879; the work of a clever Greek migrant who opened his first shop on Sydney’s Oxford Street.
The simple partnership is now considered a Friday night staple in many Australian homes.
While the English claim they do it best and the Kiwis make it sound strange, it’s the same at its core no matter where you travel.
Fish and chips can be served in a plethora of ways with a multitude of condiments – its size and cost rarely uniform.
You could prepare it at home yourself but the duo are its most popular when outside temperatures dictate a cooking boycott.
And, while some prefer to eat theirs in a cone, others maintain the use of stainless steel cutlery.
It can be labelled “gourmet” and served in tiny boxes at stand-up wedding receptions, and it can be sprawled across a newspaper on a picnic table in a park.
The weight of fish and chips is never questioned, it is at the discretion of the shop owner whether the basket size changes in depth or price, as well as the number of people it claims to feed.
It is, however, a thankless job and one that deserves a deeper respect, this author believes.
So, next time you are indulging in your fish and chips, spare a thought for the employees whose busiest days are when daytime temperatures soar and beachgoers are feeling too refreshed to cook their own meal.
Those poor “chipees” are dunking cut potatoes into pools of hot oil in a windowless brick kitchen.
And, when the temperatures dip outdoors and the orders flood in, there’s no comfort in the warmth for the fryer of fish and chips who’s take days to remove the grease from their bodies.
Now, will $10 worth of chips and a piece of fish each feed us all?