Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fish and Chips

My husband is what is known as an easy keeper. The man will cheerfully and appreciatively, with very few exceptions, eat whatever I make and serve to him. When asked what he'd like for dinner, he invariably replies, "Something good." So in planning our meals, I simply strive to make some sort of 'something good.' Saturday, when he intimated that fish and chips sounded really good, I agreed that it did. Our last child still living at home was making plans with her friends, and fish and chips for two is easy enough to make. Since the plans of teens can change by the minute, she MIGHT be eating dinner with us, but even so, frying for three people is no big deal.

As a general rule, and as much as they always loved it, I really avoided making fish and chips at home for my family when they all lived here. I feel like a bit of a kill-joy about this, but it is almost impossible to make perfectly done beer battered fish with crispy French fries to serve simultaneously to five or more people for a sit down family meal. However you orchestrate it, by the time you've finished frying everything, that which you cooked in the beginning is no longer crisp. The only way for me to pull it off, without the inevitable soggy meal component, is to essentially crank out alternate batches of potatoes and battered fish and serve each person individually, or to allow a good natured scramble and sharing of each batch as they come out of the oil until everyone has had their fill, which seems more like a feeding than a family meal. And then of course, you always have to mop the floor when you're done.

But a fish fry for two or three people is not such a big deal. I had been putting off THE SHOPPING TRIP all week out of sheer laziness, but the desire for cod, and a lack of any other genuinely pressing activity, sent me to the store. As four bags of groceries (including a generous package of cod and new jar of tartar sauce) and I were parking in our driveway, my cell phone rang. It was my son and he was thinking about coming for a visit. Fish and Chips are for dinner I told him. He said he'd be on the next Metro bus from Seattle's ID where he lives. I put the groceries away, then was inspired to whip up some Red Velvet Cupcakes. While I was baking them, my husband went to the bus station to pick up the incoming son. As I was heating the oil, the teen girl's plans changed. She asked if her friends could come over to our place instead. I remembered I had some frozen shrimp and salmon stashed in the freezer (it wasn't THAT generous of a package of cod), and said, "Sure." As the hungry began to trickle through our back door and into my kitchen, I got down to the serious business of frying and serving a steady stream of battered fish and crispy chips to everyone. And later that night, of course, I had to mop the floor -but I didn't mind, really. It is a rather small price to pay for having fantastic fish and chips at home that makes everyone so very happy.


  1. Great mother like a witch! I think mother's daily life is always acrobatics.