Years ago, Catholics would queue outside chip shops on Fridays for their ‘no-meat’ dinner. Today chip shops are still thriving, but rivalled by fast food chains that sell American fries (KFC fries are cooked in the same oil as chicken and abroad, McDonald’s use ‘beef-like seasoning’).
Avoid chips for young children and people at risk of choking. For ‘vegan fish’, avoid seaweed for thyroid/iodine issues. Do not give pets or birds leftover chips, due to toxic salt and too much fat.
It’s now illegal to sell chips in newspaper (health and safety). But choose chip shops that use local rapeseed oil over palm oil (harming habitats of endangered creatures – no such thing as sustainable palm oil). Refuse plastic cutlery and plastic bags (makes your chips go soggy).
If you eat fish, look for sustainability logos. Cod, haddock and grouper are all now endangered species, due to over-fishing. London’s Suttons & Sons (London) is one of many offering vegan fish and chips (alongside vegan calamari and scampi, and even vegan battered sausage).
Where to Buy Good Frozen Chips
You would think buying frozen chips was a no-brainer, but no. Many brands use milk or beef dripping, and cardboard boxes of microwave chips are covered in plastic wrap (never microwave baby or pet food). Nearly all McCain potato products use beef dripping, goose fat or milk.
Strong Roots Proper Chips are made with just potatoes and a drop of sunflower oil (also as skinny fries (recycle packaging in supermarket bag bins). Other good brands are Waitrose Duchy and Potato Joe.
How to (safely) Make Your Own Chips
A fifth of all house fires are caused by chip pans. You can buy a compact digital air fryer as a safer alternative tha can ‘fry’ up to 450g of chips with 1 teaspoon of oil. If you do use a chip pan:
- Never fill more than a third with oil
- Use a modern safe fryer with thermostatic control
- Never leave chip pans unattended (even if bell or phone rings)
- Don’t cook with chip pans, when drunk!
- Keep oven and hob clean (less grease)
- Dry chips before putting them in pan
- Test temperature with piece of bread, before adding chips
If your chip pan catches fire, call 999 and have clear escape route. Don’t move the pan and turn off heat (if safe to do so). Never pour water, you’ll cause a fireball. Instead, smother with a fire blanket (can also be used for frying pans). Here are recipes to make your own (baked) chips: