life : An intermediate
level English resource.
Can "Fish 'n' chips" survive ?
original British fast food is struggling ......
is the original
British fast food. Fish 'n' chips, the original "carry-out" meal,
been part of British life for well over 100 years. But will it survive
longer? Perhaps only in the form of a luxury for those who can afford
before the Big Mac was invented, Britain had its own
national form of fast food.
I was a young man,
it was the sort of thing you'd have once or twice a week,"
82-year old Arthur Mowbrey. "Sixty years ago, you'd get a full size
portion of cod and chips for sixpence. It was
cheap, and good."
Fish 'n' chips was
too. It was a proper meal, that you could eat in the street
on your way home from work, or during the lunch-break.
in newspaper, it would keep warm to the last chip, even on the coldest
days of the year.
In the last quarter of a
century, things have changed.
not so popular with
young people these days," says Lizzie, a teenager. "Most of the time,
if young people want to eat out, they'll go to a Burger King or something like that, or a
Fish 'n' chips is a bit old-fashioned really, I suppose. But there are
still cheap chip shops around. I had fish 'n' chips about three weeks
ago. We sometimes have it at home, and we go and get it from the chip
shop. It saves
Thousands of chip
however, have closed in the last twenty-five years. Some have been
into Chinese or Indian take-aways, others have just closed. They have
survived best in seaside towns, where the fish is really fresh, and
people visit them more as a tradition than for any other reason.
Yet nothing, perhaps, can save the classic fish
'n' chip shop from extinction.
Fish 'n' chips wrapped in newspaper is already just a memory of the
past. British and European hygiene rules no longer allow food to be
wrapped in old papers, so today's carry-out chip shops use new paper or
cartons. Of course, you can still eat fish and chips with your fingers
if you want, but there are now plastic throw-away forks for those who
don't want to get greasy fingers!
Yet in spite of
changes, the classic fish 'n' chip shop could disappear from British
streets in a few years' time, for a completely different reason; lack
For over twenty years,
European agriculture ministers have been trying to solve
the fish problem, but with little success. As a result of modern
industrial fishing, some types of fish are facing extinction in the
North Sea and Atlantic. "Overfishing in the North Sea has reached
crisis levels," say Greenpeace. Quotas have been introduced, but each
time there are new restrictions, fishermen in Britain, France, Spain
and other countries protest, because jobs are lost.
Sadly, this is inevitable;
and unless strict quotas are applied, thousands of European fishermen
could lose their jobs, as there will be few fish left to catch (at
least, few of the kinds of fish that people want to eat). One way or
the other, sea fish will become rarer, and therefore more expensive.
disappearance of the traditional British fish 'n' chips shop is
therefore bound to continue.
Fish and chips, however, will survive as a speciality in pubs and
restaurants, and in new up-market
fish restaurants. Comfortable, more expensive fish restaurants, with
chairs and tables, have existed for a long time of course, alongside
stand-up carry-out fish 'n' chip shops. In the years to come, they may
be the only type of fish 'n' chip restaurant to survive.
Every town in
its fish 'n' chip shops. No British town is more than 150 km. from a
sea port, and most are much closer; once railways were built in the
nineteenth century, fresh sea fish could easily be bought in all
towns. Cheaper than meat, sea fish became a popular source of
protein ; by 1870, "fish and chip shops" were springing
up all over the country. For a hundred years, they
were the classic popular restaurant, British style.
meal to eat in the street - can afford:
have enough money for - cod: a
type of fish - nourishing:
of good quality -- break: period
of rest - wrapped:
done up, contained - quarter
of a century: 25 years - take
away: carry-out, restaurant - saves
cooking: means that there is no need to cook
anything - extinction:
disappearance - styrofoam:
polystyrene - lack: absence -
solve: find an answer to - inevitable:
certain to happen, unavoidable - bound to:
certain to - up-market: high
quality - alongside: beside - spring
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`n' chips is the original English form of fast food. In the past, many
people used to eat fish `n' chips and newspaper every day, neither at
lunch time nor on their way to work. But today things have changed.
Young people never eat fish `n' chips, as they prefer Chinese
hamburgers and takes-away.
Today, there are a thousand less chip
shops than there were twenty
years ago, though they are already popular at the seaside, where the
chips are fresh.
However, many more traditional fish `n'
chip shops will certainly
appear in the coming years, because of a like of fish. People are
fishing so much in the North Sea and the Baltic, because there are no
restrictions or quotas. Soon, there will be thousands more jobs for
fishers in Europe, as there will be more and more fish to catch. Fish
`n' chip shops are therefore bound to continue as a great British
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