Fast food doesn’t have to mean bad food,” said Tom Kerridge on The Best of British Takeaways (BBC1, 14 March, 8pm) and I wondered how this appalling misunderstanding ever came about. As if pepperoni pizza, bacon cheeseburgers or fish & chips are anything other than delicious! Anyone who thinks they are bad needs to stop lying to themselves. Then get down to Krispies Fish & Chips in Devon, where they have done something so bold, so unique, so daring yet so simple, that there is little any of us can do but swoon with pleasure. At Krispies, they batter the chips.
Not only that, they add some kind of orange dye to the batter, which makes the chips glow like radioactive gold, so you really know you’re eating something delicious. Are Krispies orange chips the best in the country? Possibly, but they have some serious competition. There are 10,000 chippies in the UK, chirpy co-presenter Cherry Healey told us - eight times as many as McDonald’s has outlets - and all take pride in what they do.
The show attempted to give us a brief history of how fish & chips came to be, showing how a longstanding British love affair with chips (everyone was eating an insane six kilos of potatoes every week by the 1880s) was married to the classic Jewish dish of fried fish when a Romanian Jew called Joseph Malin started frying chips at his fried fish outlet when fish stocks ran low. By the time he had re-upped, Londoners were demanding both at the same time. And after 60 minutes of this show, I defy any human not to demand fish & chips for dinner.