Paper wrapped delights: Fish ‘n Chips and the sweet simplicity of childhood

Jul 22, 2023
Great memories of simpler times. Source: Getty

Passing by a fish ‘n chip shop on a chilly night always takes me right back to my childhood.

The aroma of hot salty chips and battered fish is so nostalgic. Takeaway options were often not readily available in those days, some suburbs might have a Chinese takeaway but even they were rare. Fish ‘n chips were it.  And we didn’t mind at all. To us kids it was a feast fit for a king.

Any Friday night that Mum took off her apron and refused to cook dinner, we knew what would be on the menu. 

We never had a car, so Dad would cycle down to the local fish n chip shop on Ferry Road. We didn’t even lay the table. Just a bottle of tomato sauce and some serviettes. After a while, we would hear the sound of his bicycle wheels on the driveway and rush out to relieve him of his burden.

A hot, steaming bundle neatly wrapped in newspaper. Oh yum. Our mouths watered. Onto the old kitchen formica table, it was placed. Mum would carefully unwrap the newspaper, and then peel back the white butcher’s paper that revealed the treasure within.

Four hungry kids, two adults and a bottle of sauce regarding the bounty that lay within. A glistening, salty, golden pile of yumminess, steaming with delicious aromas. Our tummies rumbled in anticipation.

Mum took charge and placed a pile of chips and a piece of fish in front of us so there would be no squabbling. Reverently we poured a dollop each of tomato sauce to dip our goodies in and then started – after grace was said of course.

Ah, the bliss. Happy munching and chewing through our allotted portions. We savoured the flavours, basking in the fragrant smell as it filled our kitchen. All that would be left were the little crunchy bits at the bottom of the wrapping paper. We shared those out and washed it all down with lemon cordial. No fizzy drinks in our house.  

Ah, all done and no washing up. That was a bonus. The paper would be wrapped into a careful bundle and put in the bin, but if it was an interesting tabloid like The Truth I’d see Dad scanning it for any interesting titbits. And then a nice quiet relaxing Friday night.

The big sisters might be going out, but we younger girls might be allowed to watch tv as it was Saturday the next day. And if we were really lucky, perhaps a block of Cadbury’s dairy milk to share.

Great memories of simpler times.

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