Belfast Telegraph

Hoorah, the heavyweight fish supper’s finally had its chips!

By Robert McNeil

Eureka! At last, someone has done it. “Done what?” you cry. “Discovered a cure for cancer? Invented time travel? Found Lord Mandelson's heart?” Nope. None of the above.

Wait for it: someone has invented healthy fish and chips. Well, not invented it so much as started to sell the ambrosial comestibles, something that surely should have been done a long time ago.

I almost thought of doing it myself. It seems so obvious. We all want to eat fish and chips, but rarely do so now for fear of smearing our internal organs with lard. Chippies, unless they're very special, rarely get the large queues they used to, even on Fridays.

But I guarantee if you advertise healthy fish and chips, the punters will arrive in droves. Even the jogging bourgeoisie will treat themselves.

Name me a pong that beats that of fish and chips on a sunny day by the seaside? It cannot be done, short of persiflage, sophistry and porkie-telling.

If I'd more get up and go, I'd open a business like this. Alas, I didn't get where I am today by being pro-active, or even using such a ghastly expression if I can avoid it. That's for businessmen and other people who did badly at school.

I did once get quite enthusiastic about producing herring fish cakes, and was joined by another outre entrepreneur who wanted to make crisps out of famous local potatoes. But nothing came of the drink-underpinned plan.

Another surefire winner, way beyond my capital resources, would to be build seriously soundproofed flats. Folk would queue round the block for these, but the bovine capitalists are too dumb to see the opportunity.

No one could accuse Oliver's Fish and Chips, north London, of being bovine. Piscatorially innovative perhaps. They've taken to cooking their fish and chips quickly at higher temperatures in special rapeseed oil. They use chunky chips, which soak up less grease, and they deploy half the normal amount of batter to cover their cod. Then they let the dish stand for ten minutes to drain the oil.

Result: fish and chips at 500 calories, which is less than in many sandwiches. While this is going on, boffins at confectionary titans Mars have come up with a Twix bar that has a third fewer calories than the traditional version of the tasty, twin-barrelled treat.

According to top chocologists, the latest innovation was prompted after research revealed that women who loved a pick-me-up chocolate bar were too worried to scoff one, in case their waistlines suddenly expanded to fill the room.

Women who don't worry about this sort of thing can be seen waddling hither and yon, ruing the day they bought a family packet of Minstrels and ate it while waiting to have their pizza delivered.

Speaking of which, other research shows that a single Chinese take-away often contains more calories than your total daily allowance.

All the more reason to stick to traditional fish and chips and Twixes.

These new, healthier developments fill humanity with hope. Think of it. Protestant and Catholic linked together through a love of fish and chips.

A new healthier world awaits us. A world of new foods loosely based on all the old foods. A world of chip-based comradeship, and guilt-free tasty treats. A utopia with salt and vinegar on. Not over-egging the pudding, am I?

Belfast Telegraph

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