Friday, 20 February 2015
What the Hell is Fish Tea?
Followers will know of our penchant for Fish and Chips, well, here we give you, the savvy traveller, the correct patois for your visit to Scotland for ordering the right thing in the Chippy without looking like a dunderheid (translation: person of low IQ).
The picture above is of our lunch today. We made a special research trip to our local chippy for this blog post, so appreciate it!
When you go into a takeaway chip shop, you can ask for the following options:
"a fush supper" translation: a battered fish (usually cod or haddock) with a portion of chips.
"a special fush supper" : a breaded haddock and a portion of chips.
"a single fush" : the battered haddock or cod, without any chips. Expect to be given a crispy yellow battered sea beast the size of a juvenile shark.
After placing your order you will stand around awkwardly as nothing will seem to be happening. Do not fret. Your fish will be getting cooked. This is the time when you turn to other customers (usually leaning awkwardly against the tiled walls or up against the front glass of the deep-fat frier despite the sign "Warning! Hot! Do not lean on the frier") and you will nod knowingly at them, and they at you. You will mention the temperature of the weather outside (measurable by how close the customers are standing to the lethally hot frier). You can talk about "fitbaa" or "footy", that being the national sport of soccer, but be careful to keep your comments about any given teams neutral until you ascertain whether your conversant is for or against said team and thus your new friend or your sworn enemy.
Now back to the fish, which will be cooked by now. This will be announced by the person behind the frier shouting "Specialfushsupperandasinglefush", or whatever you have ordered (you do remember what you ordered, don't you? If you appear unsure if this is your order or the man's next you, you will be considered "Glaicket" - person of slow mental faculty). Make your way to the till.
You will hear the following, asked of you by the girl at the till who will wrap your dinner.
"Ye waan sawl nn vineguh wi' that?" translation: Would you care for salt and vingear to be splashed liberally over your fish and chips?
The correct answer is "aye".
You may at this point request optional extras:
"gote ony broon sauce / gote ony ketchup?" these being popular vinegar based condiments, or "gonny gie us a pickult egg wi' 'at", this being a hard boiled egg, steeped in a jar of vinegar for about a year.
You pay, she wraps your purchase in newspaper, you leave, you eat.
All of the above would be used in a take-away situation. If you choose to "sit in", then the vocabulary changes and you must use the following phrases or look like a numpty (translation: a person of low IQ).
Sit in fish and chips is a more grand affair. This is for middle class people or working class people on holiday at the seaside with the weans (children) who want to splash out, look respectable and have a dining experience that they can tell their neighbours about when they get home - "Ye should ha' seen the fush we had in Saltcoats! Ach it was rare!"
When your table is approached by the serving girl, she will ask you
"D'ye know whit yer wantin'?" translation : I'll take your order now please.
The correct answer is
"I'll have a fush tea, please, love."
A Fish Tea is a battered haddock or cod, chips, served on a plate, a pot of tea and a side plate of buttered bread (so you can make a "chip butty", that is, a chip sandwich.)
There may be no pronounced Ts in the middle of the word butter - "buh-hur" - depending on your dialectical region. Don't be confused by this - it' not butter anyway - it's margarine.
The tea will be regular black tea of a blend associated with the region: PG Tips, Breakfast Tea, Builder's Tea. So do not expect or ask for decaf tea, lemon and orange zinger, jojoba and walnut or any other "gurrly tea" as your server will scowl, ask "whit?" and behind your back call you an "Eejit!" (translation: a person of low IQ).
If you are in a middle class area, there will be salad with your Fush Tea. The salad will be a handful of shredded Iceberg lettuce on the edge of your plate, soused with a brown "dressing" mostly made from malt vinegar (there's the vinegar again).
Again, you can request some optional condiments, indeed they may already be supplied in half-gallon-sized plastic squeezable bottles on your table, those being Brown Sauce, Ketchup (aka Red Sauce) or Tartare Sauce (a white vinegar based sauce with green bits in it, from undetermined source).
Pour your tea after it has "steeped", that is, brewed. Butter your bread (with margarine), put chips onto half the slice of bread, "clap it shut", that is, fold it to form a rudimentary sandwich, and you are ready to enjoy your Fush Tea.
This blog was inspired by a music video we came across the other day. It's from Lancashire in the North West of England, but the sentiments are the same. Listen and watch The Lancashire Hotpots with their song Chippy Tea.