Our cravings are intensifying with the arrival of National Fish & Chip Day.
Thus, here’s a list of the things that are wonderful, and annoying, about our favourite tea.
Although munching in the not-always-so-great outdoors (the wasps, the cold) can be meh, we make an exception for fish and chips. They do taste better alfresco.
Takeaway van Alanda’s is good for that reason, as long as you can find a spot at Longniddry Bents away from the black shingle.
Even better, visit Pittenweem Fish & Chip Bar, for the fact that it hasn’t changed for aeons (they still wear tabards), and you can carry your warm bag of chips down Cove Wynd, past St Fillan’s Cave, and scoff them at the harbour.
Apart from a few notable exceptions, like white pudding, anything other than fish is only ordered because you don’t know any better, or you’re extremely drunk.
Say no to the pizza, the mahogany chicken and the mysterious pie.
This doesn’t apply to The Bay at Stonehaven, where the fishcakes, scampi and everything else is excellent.
They could deep fry a decomposed seagull wing and it’d be a gourmand delight.
Who do you think you are, with your tiny pronged fork, Princess Anne? Use your fingers.
They probably offer those wee forks at the swankier places, like the fantastic Fishmarket at Newhaven, but you can do without.
For some reason, it’s embarrassing to ask for a pickled gherkin, egg or onion, and even worse when you want one of each.
I’d like to propose that they’re served under the counter, to spare blushes, or get a grown-up to order them for you.
After a straw poll, it seems that nobody else feels like this, including chef Mark Greenaway, who said pickle ordering was “standard practice”.
A fish supper from a takeaway will always trump a restaurant offering.
Still, they persist in trying. We’ve got high expectations when it comes to the version by new Glasgow restaurant, The Duke’s Umbrella, who promise the best in Scotland.
It comes with tarragon mayo, lemon and vinegar powder.
Also, we’ve always enjoyed the fish high tea from The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant.
They hope to bring it back soon, but for now, they’re doing Peterhead haddock, hand-cut chips, tartar sauce and pea puree with garden mint.
Champagne, tea or cheap fizzy pop are the three best drinks to go with fish and chips.
Also, pudding can only be ice-cream, or half a chocolate bar.
It’s always salt and sauce on the east coast, salt and vinegar in the west. We swing both ways, as long as it’s proper vinegar rather than the chemical broth that is “non-brewed condiment”.
The only disappointment is when there isn’t enough. We want our chips to be sodden and crunchy, right down to the little crispy filaments at the bottom of the bag.
Avoid polystyrene boxes at all cost, as they’ll make your dinner as sweaty and soggy as a rubber clad sea lion.