100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #75.

When I was a kid trying to survive my childhood in St. Catharines, Ontario, we didn’t have many customs or traditions that were fit to be discussed outside of family court.

With one quasi-exception.

My parents, like most barely-middle-class folks in the Seventies, were hamstrung by budgetary concerns when it came to meal choices. In other words we were broke, though I never really noticed that, unlike other kid’s homes, the milk in our house would blow away if someone left the front door open while you were opening the package. (Think about it or consult the Google, kids.) However, there were times that we managed to scrape together enough dough to afford to eat outside of the home.

To be clear, when I say, “eat outside of the home”, I don’t mean we crashed a wedding (we were doing that long before Vaughan and Wilson) and when I say we “picked up a meal”, I’m not referring to a dine and dash. No, I mean we occasionally walked a few blocks to a neighborhood establishment where we retrieved a delicacy that we carried home and ate in the comfort (and insanity) of our own dining room. And by “we”, I mean me. And Dog help me if my young legs didn’t get me home before the food cooled…

#75: Fish ‘n Chips.

As a devout Whovian (that’s a Doctor Who fan, though I did grow up to eventually move out of my parents’ basement in order to finally kiss a girl who wasn’t under the influence of cough medicine) who was obsessed with all things British, I fell in food love with this dish instantly.


Just the name alone makes my stomach growl with hunger…


And it was served in newspaper! My young mind was boggled.

To clarify, in my day fish and chip restaurants traditionally wrapped their product in newspaper, or, if they were wimps, with an inner layer of white paper for hygiene (like we cared about hygiene in the Seventies!) and an outer layer of newspaper or blank newsprint for insulation and to absorb grease, which, incidentally, was the best part. Nowadays the use of newspaper for wrapping has almost ceased on grounds of “hygiene”. There’s that dreaded word again; I shower twice a day (more if I watch too much political coverage) so I understand the need to be clean, but dining should be an experience, not a a clinical trial!

Answer me this, could there be anything cooler than delicious food that’s wrapped in newsprint featuring comic strips? The first time I had fish ‘n chips and saw that greasy image of the Spider-Man comic strip? Let’s just say that it was the only thing that even came close to resembling how I felt about seeing Cindy Day in a training bra and leave it at that. 

Fish have always been considered “brain food” and French fries are a connection to childhood, so combining them allows one to be both grown-up and childlike simultaneously. I’d like to see a salad beat that.

I’m now grown-up (ish) and have a family of my own that I am happy to report is nowhere near as messed-up as the one I barely survived. It’s taken decades but we now have a family tradition that makes me feel like a kid again every Friday night. The fish ‘n chips aren’t wrapped in Spider-Man comics but they’re every bit as delicious and they make me happy to be alive.

What more could you ask for from your supper?

See you in the lobby, kids…

Doesn’t this take you back, friends? Go, Spidey!

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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16 Responses to 100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #75.

  1. Mark Myers says:

    Love me some fish and chips.

  2. Fish and chips… yum! And well, ANY good food is a reason to be alive! Nothing like a good meal! ❤

  3. Happy is the one who appreciates the small things.
    Life is made of small happinesses to get you through the rest

  4. a pennuf of chips…….. fish for sixpence. Can practically see the print on my fingers from the wrapping. Those were the days. It doesn’t taste the same in white paper or in little trays.

  5. We have a place that serves up deep fried flounder. It is so sweet and good. The last legitimate fish and chips I had was in London across from Trafalgar Square. My oh my it was good. I would want to get back there. You are very right. Fish and Chips are lifesavers,

  6. Doug in Oakland says:

    There used to be a fish and chips place in Berkeley on Shattuck just on the other side of University that sold their fish and chips wrapped in newspaper and had proper bottles of vinegar on the counter where the stools for “eating in” were lined up.
    We were on our way to eat lunch there when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit.
    When we got there, the owners were out on the sidewalk watching the Hustead’s Towing building burn down, but they went back inside and served us when we asked if we could still get lunch there.
    I miss that place.
    Sara took me to a place near Reno that was almost as good, but no newspaper or vinegar bottles (who can use vinegar out of a little plastic packet?) but they were all “modern” and sold a bunch of tempura vegetables as well. The fish and chips weren’t bad there, though.

  7. 3bones says:

    Great post, Hook! And thanks for the little trip down memory lane … I absolutely despised the aftertaste of the powdered milk, just add water and stir, right? The only way I was ever able to get it down was if it was near the freezing point, just before the little ice crystals form. There was nothing worse than my Mom mixing up a batch just before dinner and pouring us a nice big glass … you’d have thought we were being prepped with barium for an x-ray or a CT scan! And I wholeheartedly agree, Friday night fish and chips are one of the meals my wife and I enjoy at our golf club where the chef features a beer battered rockfish … thanks for the great memories …

  8. Dave Ply says:

    Ah, fish and chips. I like ’em, the wife loves ’em. In addition to the occasional restaurant outing, we picked up a small deep fryer called a FryDaddy that makes it easy to make your own fish and chips. (Although it’s kind of small for multiple people). Even tastier without powdered milk – that stuff is nasty. (Of course, having said that, I admit to using it to make bread).

    Ultimately though, what’s tastier: the flavor, or the tradition?

  9. curvyroads says:

    I am a fan of fish and chips, though I’m afraid I’ve never had them wrapped in newspaper! We did find a food truck in Colorado called Off the Hook…you guessed it, the only offering was fish and chips! And named after you, to boot! 😀

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