Egg & Chips
The other day Nana Tourettes and I were discussing oven chips, it stemmed from my pastime of buying supermarket special offers as a result of which I have a small chest freezer full of assorted varieties of oven chips, straight, crinkled, rustic, organic etc.
It started me off thinking about my photographic trips with the “lads” (none under 65) taking pictures of Pub signs and/or railways. We usually ended up in a pub for lunch when I tried to have my favourite, egg and chips. I say tried because it was not always as straightforward as you would think, especially in these chain pubs with tills with little icons on the keys for their illiterate staff to press.
"Can I just have egg an chips please"
"We only do Sausage, Egg and Chips"
"Well can I have an extra egg instead of the sausage"
"Oh the Chef couldn’t do that"
"Well I’ll pay for Sausage, Egg and Chips and ask the Chef to keep the sausage"
"Oh he can’t do that, he has to serve the standard dish"
"Ok Give me the sausage, egg and chips and I’ll give the sausage to one of the others"
You may think I’m eggsadurating but we were once in Wetherspoons in Carlisle and two of the party wanted Lamb Chops. They were told they couldn’t have Lamb Chops because they’d run out of mashed potato
"We’ll have chips with our chops then"
"Sorry, we only serve them with mash, if we give you chips the computer will re-order mashed potato and we’ll end up with too much Mash and short of chips".
Rather than having the mighty Wetherspoon Empire being overwhelmed with mashed potato we went to another pub which actually used real potato that could magically become Mash or Chips in the chefs hands.
I did hear that at a Wetherspoons in Leeds they refused to serve Lamb Chops because they’d run out of mint sauce!
I did manage to get egg and chips in one automated pub, I think it was “The Scholar” in Wakefield, The Hon Anastasia Clogiron and I had gone to peruse The West Yorkshire Records in search of Lady Clogirons ancestors who it turned out owned most of Ripon at one time. The barmaid managed to get the chef to just provide Egg and Chips but didn’t know how to charge me as there was no key for Egg and Chips on the automated till but eventually we settled on it being equal to a pint and half of Tetleys.
If Egg and Chips are on the Menu it is not always obvious. There is Pub up Skipton way, “The New Inn” in the village of Conoley, that we had been to several times. I had had to eat what was on the menu then on this visit I noticed a blackboard over the fireplace headed ” A Bit On The Side” and among the items listed were ` a portion of chips’ and `two chucky eggs’.
I approached the barmaid “About this bit on the side?”
"Lots of gentlemen are interested in that, Love"
"Can I have a bit on the side without having a main course"
"Certainly Love, what can I get you"
So I got my portion of chips and two chucky eggs
I should point out that the term Love is widely used in Yorkshire when addressing the opposite sex and small children. In the North East you get Ducky and in London Deary.
"The New Inn" called it’s Grills "Sizzlers" and the plates were very hot when you got them but they did not compare to those at "The Fenton Flyer" in the village of Church Fenton up in North Yorkshire. The pub is named for James Nicholson the only Fighter Command pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross, who was at the nearby RAF Church Fenton for a long time and is full of memorabilia connected to him and the airfield.
When they brought you your meal, the girls carried it in thick oven gloves and we watched in awe as the plates burnt their way into the place mats, they were still too hot to touch when you’d finished eating. They did a wonderful Egg and Chip. We arrived once to be greeted “No grub yet they’re still in York shopping”
"We’ll wait" we said. It’s that sort of place.
In non Chain pubs where Egg and Chips did not appear on the menu I used to get Silver Tongued Ralph to make the approach. At “The Navigation” at the bottom of the Lancashire side of Standedge he got chatting to the Landlady about banding as “The Navigation” is a banding pub and his grandaughter plays in a brass band and she said I could have anything I wanted so I got my egg and chips at at my cheapest price to date £1-50p. At the other end of the scale we went to a posh little pub in Glossop, we’d been photgraphing the electric trains as they traversed all three sides of Dinting Station on their way from Manchester to Glossop and back. The chef in this pub said he did not normally cook such plebian dishes but as he wasn’t busy he would do this once. I had to pay £3-60p for this privilege, but the chips were hand carved and the eggs from The Duchess of Devonshire’s flock,plucked from the nest box by her own hand. Well that’s how Ralph explained the price.