My grandad wasn’t let loose in the kitchen very often (my Grandma always accused him of “getting under her feet”) and his culinary repertoire was limited, but when he did produce something, the results were delicious. He liked to take his time and do things properly.
One of his best dishes which he really knew how to make was chips. Not the frozen variety that you shake onto a baking tray. Not the skinny variety you might find in a fast-food outlet. Just proper, honest homemade chips, which were golden on the outside and deliciously fluffy on the inside.
How did he make them so well? I really have no idea. He didn’t triple cook them like Heston, or par-cook them first and as far as I know he just used ordinary potatoes, peeled them, chopped them into strips and left them in a bowl of water until they were ready to cook.
In the 1970s and 80s before the advent of the enclosed ‘deep fat fryer’ almost every household had the old-style chip pan. As a child, waiting for some chips to be cooked felt like forever. My family used beef dripping and after each use it would solidify around the wire basket, so we had to wait until it had melted before the frying could begin.
The Expelair would be going nineteen to the dozen, the kitchen window would be fogged up, but finally the potato chips would be drained, transferred to the basket and the satisfying sizzling sound would begin. Then half-way through the basket would be shaken and the cooking continued. Finally they would be tipped into a dish lined with kitchen paper and then onto our plates together with whatever else we were having that evening – pork sausages from the local butcher, fried haddock from the fishmonger, tinned ham or a couple of fried eggs.
You can find plenty more chip recipe ideas and facts and figures about chips on the National Chip Week website.
Verner Wheelock Associates provide food safety, HACCP and auditing training to a wide range of food industry businesses – everyone from potato growers and processors to the meat industry, bakery, confectionery, dairy and ready meals. For details of all our training courses visit www.vwa.co.uk.