London and Me: Intermission or Can I Order Indian Instead?

This is the perfect time to talk about a serious food issue in London.   I never run into this problem at home but as soon as I touch soil in the UK, I have to deal with it – pub grub.  Specifically the phenomenon of fish and chips.  Even if a pub doesn’t have something edible like bangers and mash, there is always fish and chips with those malt packets on the side.

Fish and Chips!I’m not a fan of fish and chips.   In the US, I enjoy fish with flavor.  Perch can be tasty and if seasoned properly, white fish might even pass my inspection.  But in the UK, the fish of choice is usually haddock, something I consider quite bland.  No wonder they offer packets of malted vinegar for taste. There is no catfish, buffalo, or any other flavorful fish. It’s haddock or bugger off.   To make matters worse, the plentiful chip shops on every corner serve theirs up in lovely greasy paper to ensure you enjoy every greasy bite.  The fish’s greasiness is directly proportionate to the greasiness of the chips.   This is considered really good eats.

Fish and chips and mushy peasThere’s something else.  I’ve seen it on plates with fish and chips.  It’s green and mushy and …well, it’s mushy peas.  Wiki says mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water and then simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy soup. They are a traditional British accompaniment to fish and chips.  They are actually sold in tinned cans and sold as batter in pea fritter.  Okaaay. To me, it looks like peas pureed and then cooked down into glop.  In the US, it’s called baby food.  Why is this served at meals?  Why do people eat it, much less with fish and chips?  I just don’t get it.


Dublin, Ireland (Temple Bar)And let’s talk about the beer. Yes, this is utter heresy territory.  I’ll admit right off that I don’t like beer.  I’ve tried since college to find a drinkable beer to no avail.  A beer loving friend actually bought at least 15 kinds of beers for me taste, so determined was he to find a drinking buddy.  I hated every one.  In the UK, I’ve had shandys and ciders; no luck.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I dislike the taste of hops, barley and the fermentation process, ergo beer. In the UK, every social event calls for some kind of beer, ale, stout or cider. It’s hard to avoid.   Europeans joke that Americans drink cold weak piss.  Sorry, Europeans drink warm, really, really strong piss.  There, I said it. What do you think Dear Reader about pub grub and beer? Tell me how you really feel.  Or set me straight.

Oh, because I know what you people come here for:

John Mulligan eating

Richard Armitage as John Mulligan in Moving On, definitely not eating fish and chips, mushy peas or beer. Courtesy of