Julie called me today and alerted me to this NYTimes article. In it she read about a “Chip Butty.” English schools are apparently trying to improve the health-quotient of their lunch menus and some kids don’t approve:
“It’s rubbish,” said Andreas Petrou, an 11th grader. Instead, en route to school recently, he was enjoying a north of England specialty known as a chip butty: a French-fries-and-butter sandwich doused in vinegar.
“We didn’t get a choice,” he said of the school food. “They just told us we were having it."
The reason she called me was this. We have a restaurant here in Park Slope called the ChipShop, which features “delicacies” from the British Isles – anything, really that will soak up the pints you are required to consume. Curious gourmet that I am, I have tried some of the odder-sounding items and have recently enjoyed my first Chip Butty. I’m scheduled for bypass surgery in March.
It’s quite an experience. The vinegar really makes it, otherwise the thing would be impossible to get down. The thing is, Julie thought that Chip Butty was a ChipShop creation. “These idiot Americans think we eat anything fried. Let’s tell them we eat French Fry sandwiches. Just wait, someone will try it.” But no. They’re real.
As Cyril Connolly writes,
Oh, the superb wretchedness of English food, how many foreigners has it daunted, and what a subtle glow of nationality one feels in ordering a dish that one knows will be bad and being able to eat it! The French do not understand cooking, only good cooking – this is where we score.
I think I’ll try the Welsh Rarebit next, since I’ve already had the Fried Macaroni.