Yesterday I treated myself to a lunch of cod and chips from an eat-in/takeaway fish and chip shop in Brighton. I ate in. Having taken my order, the guy serving asked me if I wanted anything else. Nervously I requested mushy peas—a delicacy that only those living north of the Irony Curtain* truly understand. Amazingly, when they arrived they weren’t bad, though they were spoiled somewhat by being served in a separate little white bowl with a spoon.
*The Irony Curtain was first identified (I think) by Jonathan Meades or someone like that in the course of a BBC documentary about the architecture of the Midlands. It is a line bisecting Birmingham horizontally. The English living north of this dividing line say what they mean and mean what they say. Also, they know what mooshy peas are.
Will they put gravy on the S&K pudding and chips?
Reminiscent of the [no doubt totally apocryphal] tale of the time Peter Mandelson went into his “local” in Hartlepool and, upon being presented with a dish of mushy peas, exclaimed, “Ah, guacamole!”.
But that Mandelson story has the ring of truth, doesn’t it?
I first experienced mushy peas when I was dating a Nottingham girl. It is odd to have them served in a separate cup, which is something I’ve only experienced south of the gap. Don’t like the mushy peas on the wrapped fish and chips, though, which is why the separate cup is a handy innovation I suppose.
This is something bloggers should collaborate on: a good fish and chip shop map of the British Isles. Buckingham fish bar has truly excellent batter, but the chips aren’t up to much.
Fish Club on St. John’s Hill, near Clapham Junction in that London. Top fish, and they do mash! Then have a pint in the Beehive. Battersea nightlife!
I grew up in Cambridge, where the fair on Midsummer common (at least in the ’60s and ’70s) was AWASH with mushy peas, which you had in a little poly cup with vinegar on them. And they weren’t called Mung Lentillons in a Reduced Jus or nothing, neither. The North doesn’t have all the fun, you know.
I think Kinnock has owned up to the Mandelson story, but can’t be arsed to check. In Nottingham they’re called “pea mix”. In my part of Wales we call them “ffa stwntsi”. Excellent.
I have to say, I think the title of this blog is the best pun I’ve ever seen! Teeheehee!