Fish & Chips
The King’s Cod Piece
Fish & Chips are a British staple that has found its place in the culinary pop-culture of America as well. Due to the popularity of this dish, fish and chips and the fish sandwich have found a home at the Ren Faire as well.
Fish & Chips grew in popularity due to the fact that trawl fishing had become the rage in the North Sea during the 19th century. This brought an abundance of fish to the people of Britain and at a relatively cheap price. Add to this the fact that the rail system had been completed from the port cities to the rest of the British Isles. The first actually Fish & Chips shop opened in 1860 by proprietor Joseph Malin.
Here was the great thing and is still the great thing about Fish & Chips – they are uniquely portable. There is a place close by in Knoxville, TN (The Crown and Goose) that serves amazing Fish & Chips. The come in a ‘newspaper’ printed paper wrapper with the chips on one side and the fish on top. The paper is waxed so that the excess grease doesn’t leak. Herein lies the beauty of the Fish & Chips. And this is true at the Renaissance Festivals as well. You walk up, get your Fish & Chips and then you are set to walk around and eat while you still enjoy the faire. You also don’t have to worry about spilling your food on the way to the table.
Here is my definition of good Fish & Chips. They should be breaded like a beer batter or a crispy batter – think Long John Silvers, only good. But that style of batter. They should not be overly greasy. And, I like the chips to be fried in the same oil so they have a little of the fish taste to the fish as well. I also like it when they are wrapped in some type of waxed paper. There is something about eating the fish that is wrapped up with the chips in paper and I have had them in brown paper and waxed paper. I prefer waxed paper but the fact is when you sit down and unwrap the meal, the steam hits you in the face, the smell of the fresh fried fish and chips is overwhelming and there is that level of comfort food that makes you feel good.
Next time you are feeling peckish at the faire. Stop by and get a piece of the King’s Cod Piece (at the CRF) – either as Fish & Chips or between two pieces of bread. Get some comfort food in you and enjoy the rest of your day at the faire with a full stomach.