Can you imagine fish without chips?

POPULAR: Fish and chips is a worldwide favourite. Picture: www.sxc.hu.

Like Bonny and Clyde or Laurel and Hardy, fish and chips are a classic double act. Surprisingly though, they started life as solo performers.

The potato is thought to have been brought to England in the 17th century by Sir Walter Raleigh, with chips (or pommes frites) only arriving from France in the 18th century. Around the same time, fried fish was introduced into Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain. The exact date in which the two meal items made their debut, as well as who orchestrated the introduction to one another has been debated for many years.

Both Lancashire and London have staked claims to being the first to create this world famous meal. Some credit a northern entrepreneur called John Lees as the owner of the first combined fish and chip shop, while others claim it was actually opened by a Jewish immigrant, Joseph Malin. However it came about, the populace soon decided that putting fried fish and chips together was a very tasty combination and the marriage quickly caught on.

Aside from being a tasty dish which was a welcome change for working-class citizens, the meal was invaluable in supplementing the weekly diets of those living through World War II, as fish and chips were among the few foods that were not rationed.

Is the meal good for us? Yes! The meal comprises valuable sources of protein, fibre, iron and vitamins, providing a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins for men and nearly half for women.

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