Ode to the Chippy Tea…

There comes a time when the parents within the hardworking Northern family can’t be bothered to cook.  Enter Chippy Tea.  Usually on a Friday night (a chippy’s busiest time) after the working week is done and everyone is exhausted and feeling that a treat is in order.

When it comes to ordering, there are a selection of greasy foods that can be ordered from the chippy.  The common Northern favourites are:

  • Chips and gravy
  • Chip and curry sauce (Chinese style)
  • Pie and chips
  • Pudding (steak suet pie sometimes referred to as a baby’s head), chips, peas and gravy.  Some chip shops offer the pea juice known as ‘pea wet’ in Yorkshire.
  • Sausage and chips
  • Chip gravy muffin or chip barm depending on which region of the North.
  • Fish, chips and peas
  • A special or a scallop (potato fritter)

All of the above taste delicious but are extremely unhealthy.  But, you see, it is cold up North and we need the calories.

The smell of the chips when bought back into the car from the chip shop is enough to make the entire family salivate like drooling dogs.  The person who is holding the chips always manages to pinch a sneaky chip before returning home with the stash – the finder’s fee.  The finder also has the enviable position of holding the warm bag of food, keeping their body warm against the cold.

Once home, there is always commotion and confusion as to whose order is whose – everyone trying to get to the bag to grab their goodies. The gravy is starting to saturate through the paper and is yearning to be eaten. Someone has invariably already started eating someone else’s order before realising that they didn’t order gravy on theirs.

The whole house smells of chips.  A smell so pungent that even passers-by on the street might be able to smell them.  The smell of Chippy Tea, evocative of Friday nights.

Once opened, the best chips are quickly siphoned off the top – the juiciest specimens – peeled away from the herd.  So juicy from the meaty gravy that they melt in the mouth.   Then, at the bottom of the pack, hiding away, the crispy chips that might have been fried a dozen times, now so crispy they crack in between the teeth – a real treat like the pork scratching on a pork roast.

When the Chippy Tea is done, everyone collapses in a heap.  It takes a lot of energy to process 1000 calories.  Does that count as exercise?


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