Fish & Chips conjure up many memories for me.
I have a lot of memories of my parents in particular ordering them at places like Dick’s (Spokane) and Zip’s and virtually anywhere they were offered on a menu. We really didn’t go out to eat much so dining out was usually fairly cheap and the fast food joints of eastern WA that we liked seemed to carry them.
I left one of the fast food spots out of my first paragraph on purpose – Skipper’s. Here is why. It is another memory, this one etched into my thoughts like a beautiful and vivid, slightly uncomfortable dream. There was a Skipper’s off of Francis in North Spokane that we would go to occasionally because we all loved those fish and chips. Sometimes, when we hit the right night, and my parents were feeling generous, we did the all-you-can-eat special. Four bigger humans with great appetites and we were in heaven. Combination of lots of food that we normally didn’t get to eat and going out, plus that familiar malt vinegar smell, blue dirty carpet, and brown faded wood decor that those Skipper’s joints carried in the 80s, meant a good time.
I remember one particular trip where my sister and I had helped dad deliver some firewood to one of his customers. You see dad’s “side hustle” as they call it now, was cutting firewood and selling it so guess who helped? Me, the dog, and sometimes my sister. This particular time Molly was along. We did the work, were filthy with sawdust and dirt clods clinging to our clothing and since dad a nice little wad of cash, he took us to Skipper’s. It was one of those all-you-can-eat special nights. We scarfed the food down, went up for more, and more, and more again. We even went up and got some to take home! I remember a lady muttering next to us telling her friend not to say anything but you sure could tell that she felt what we were doing was tacky! We didn’t care. This was a special night and a special meal because we worked hard and we felt we deserved it (even though we probably shouldn’t have).
When I moved to the West side to go to school at the UW, I continued the tradition of looking for legit F&C spots. I was introduced to Spud (Alki, Kirkland and Greenlake), Steamer’s, down by the waterfront, and of course Ivar’s, and a bunch of spots that don’t exist any longer as this was the early 90s.
I have had swankier fish and chips since, served in steakhouses, burger joints, posh restaurants, and even gas stations, and the picture included in this post was a lovely one near St. Andrew’s in Scotland.
I still think making fish and chips at home is the very best though, although if you do get a chance to have a basket of lightly breaded fish and thick cut fries near the saltwater, ANY saltwater, you must.
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.