I did a terrible thing tonight. It should be illegal. Maybe it is. I got on a bus with an open cone of chips and let the smell linger just long enough to send a few, unsuspecting people crazy. But secretly I thought: “And that’s for all the times someone has sent me into a chip-craving-heart-racing-frenzy on public transport” and promptly took a bite of chunky potato heaven.

halfway fish

Halfway House, Earlsfield, South West London

Fish and chips; burger and chips; steak and chips; chicken and chips; cheesey chips; chips and gravy (controversial); however you like yours, you’ve got to admit it’s a guilty pleasure you just don’t feel that guilty about.

All in the name of research, to mark the start of National Chip Week I took a detour to the local chippy on my way home, which happens to be Chris’s Fish Bar on Turnham Green Terrace (Chiswick), home to the biggest (and chunkiest) portion of chips for £1.80 I’ve ever encountered. For starters, the anticipation on the tube almost pushed me over the edge, the slow pokes dismounting the stairs nearly got me screeching: “Chips ahoy, part the sea!” and the fact there was one other person in front of me in the queue ordering exactly what I was having (a lush, cone of chips) pushed my food envy sky high.

I’m just old enough to remember the days of purchasing fish and chips wrapped in the daily news, like some delicious pass the parcel of days gone by, dripping in vinegar (ink always a bonus).

Then something happened, chips got posh. It all occurred around the time health and safety decided grubby papers weren’t the way to go and pristine wrapping came into play. And then the burger chains went all gourmet on us and our greasy, vinegar-clad friends gained dustings of herbs like confetti in place of salt, vinegar and all-important chip spice.

And then chips got a bit too big for their boots and refused to be displayed in anything other than metallic, vintage-style buckets in a delicate fan-like structure – just about the same time all cocktails demanded to be sipped out of jam jars.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good-old pot of rosemary seasoned fries at Honest Burger aside my meaty affair; just as much as I drool over the idea of trying a triple cooked chip finished in beef dripping at Bukowski (Brixton/Shoreditch) – as recommended by fellow foodie Tom O’B. And don’t even get me started on the sweet potato fries at Meat Liquor (just behind Oxford Street) – now that is a craze I approve of.

But I feel like chips may have lost their way on the hazardous road to fame. I’d pick a bag of chips avec wooden fork from my local chip shop above an all-singing all-dancing, quadruple fried crinkle cut any day.

Everything else is just potato in a dress.

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