Fish and Chips?

Perhaps one of you Brits could clue this clueless Yank in on the chip portion of fish and chips. Knowing our penchant for taking a perfectly good traditional dish and creating an abomination out of it, I suspect that chips are not Americanized french fries. If I’m correct in my assumption, how are they prepared?

I’m not a Brit. (Disclaimer.) But I always thought the chips were French fries. Has to be wrapped in newspapers, tho, to make it authentic.

Not a Brit, but I’ve visited. Chips are indeed French Fries. Crisps are what we Americans would call potato chips.

French Fries are reportedly named such because cutting food into long pieces with a square cross section is/was called “frenching”

Sorry, no cites!

Chip shop chips tend to be much thicker (3/8" or more) than the ‘fries’ that one gets from fast food outlets such as Burger King and Evil Clown. They are prepared in a frying bin that looks pretty similar to the ones I have seen in Burger King (where IIRC the fries were labelled ‘needle fries’). I have no idea whether or nor there is an official culinary definition of a ‘fry’ as opposed to a ‘chip’.

I am a Brit,:wink:

Chips = chopped up potatoes but not the thinly cut french fries you get in MacDonalds but thick cut proper chips (I make a BIG difference between MacDonalds french fries and proper chips as do most people I know). Yummm fish and chips, lots of salt and vinegar as well.

They used to come in newspaper but tend not to these days (printing paper and held in a polystyrene tray) not the same really.

Crisps does = potato chips.

Darn, TPWombat beat me to it, serves me right for previewing and then chaning what I was writing so had to preview again!

Sounds, like I suspected that they are more like what we call Jo Jo’s in this local, even heard some folks call 'em homefries.

The potatoes (Maris Piper are considered by many to be the best) are quite thick - 3/4" as TPWombat says. Traditionally, they are half-fried in beef dripping, pulled out, then re-inserted after a short “rest” for a final fry. This makes them crisp on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside. Try it at home.

People are divided as to the nutritional value of “chips”, but they usually contain less fat than “fries” due to the relatively smaller surface area to weight ratio (WAG). If that last bit’s wrong, I’ve got about 38 seconds to wait before someone puts me right.

Lion Killer

No, they’re not flat slices like homefries. Chips are simply large french fries.

At Arthur Treacher’s Fish ‘n’ Chips (do they still exist?) the chips looked a little like snowshoes. They were oval and ridged lengthwise. I used to think that this was what all British-style “chips” were like, as distinguished from french fries, but it looks like they were a style unique to that fast-food chain.

At most New England fish n’ chips places I’ve ever been (and that’s a lot), the fries are about the size of 4 mcdonald’s fries arrainged in a square. So twice as thick and twice as wide.


Smetimes we cut our chips with a currgated blade but they are the same overall shape as chips.

What you are describing, a potato roundel say 4" by 3", sometimes cut corrugated and deep fried in batter is what we’d call a scallop.

British chips are closer to Belgian pomme frites (in size and preparation) than to American french fries.

Perhaps I didn’t say that right. What I meant was that, rather than McDonald’s type dimensions of 4" by 1/4" by 1/4", the fries that I get when I order fish n’ chips in Boston are perhaps 4" by 1/2" by 1/2".

The chips I have had in Britain resembled our “steak fries” here in America but slightly wider.

I used to work in a fish-and-chip shop and that’s absolutely right. In fact that’s how we made them. It was time-consuming finding those sets of four McDonald’s fries that were all the same length, but it was worth it. To get them to stick together we used twisties - you know, those short lengths of plastic-covered wire. See thread on IMHO…

[sub]time to get off this board for the evening. goodnight everybody. Sorry I got stupid. Thanks for letting me visit.[/sub]

When making chips in the British fashion, after cutting the potatoes, soak them in fresh cold water for at least an hour (changing the water at least twice) and drain well before frying, this takes a lot of the excess starch out, resulting in a crisper chip (alternately you can parboil them before frying).
The major difference between a British “chip” and a Macwhatsits “fry” is that chips are made from chunks of whole potato while the fast food “fry” is generally made from frozen, reconstituted potato puree.

Good luck


FWIW, the best fish’n’chips I’ve ever had are made at Ye Olde King’s Head in Santa Monica, CA. The chips are English cut, as described above, and tastey for fries (I’m not a big fry fan). The fish is firm and flakey. But the best part is the batter. Thick and crunchy with a zillion little air holes in it (that’s why it’s crunchy) that are perfect for holding lots of vinegar and salt.