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When Fish and Chips Came Wrapped in Newspaper.

Is it just my imagination or did fish and chips taste better when they were wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper?

Photo from Andrew Heslop. Seppelts Wine Vinegar was once on the counter at every fish and chip shop in town..

Photo from Andrew Heslop. Seppelts Wine Vinegar was once on the counter at every fish and chip shop in town..

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, probably sometime back in the 70s, but the ‘fish and chippery ‘ dispensed with the age old tradition of the newspaper wrapping and went with the cleaner look of white butcher’s paper and then eventually to fancy boxes.

All the years growing up as a kid, I can only ever remember the take away treat being wrapped in the Advertiser. The paper was then a ‘broadsheet’ of course and the extra size was more preferable than the tabloid sized afternoon paper ‘The News’.

Andrew Heslop – Commentator, MC and Community Advocate, writing recently on the Adelaide Remember When Facebook page shared a photo and a memory of growing up in Adelaide; “Seppelts Wine Vinegar was once on the counter at every fish and chip shop in town. The distinctive bottle provided a thin stream of vinegar through a tiny hole in the blue top, right on to your steaming fish and chips. With the advent of multinational fast food chains the shops – many owned by hard working first generation migrants – have slowly closed down. My favourite is still open – Sotos on Semaphore Road down near the beach. Many happy memories of being there with my grandparents during summer and taking our meal across to the (now closed) sideshows and summer carnival. Happy days”!

Photo from Google Images. I'm sure fish and chips tasted better when they were wrapped in newspaper

Photo from Google Images. I’m sure fish and chips tasted better when they were wrapped in newspaper

Many readers to the page commented with memories of their own favourite fish and chips shop, many, as Andrew pointed out owned and run by hard working, first generation migrant families. Others wrote in with recollections of “me rapidly tearing 2 holes in the top of the parcel….a little one to let the heat out so the chips wouldn’t go soggy and a larger hole to grab a chip through”.

Diana Field recalled “When I lived in the city as a youngster, the Gouger Fish Cafe was the place to buy a parcel of newspaper-wrapped chips, tear a hole in the end and eat them while walking home to Wright Street”.

Dorina Fanning told the story about the man that ran the fish and chip shop on Semaphore road years ago, (near the Glanville end). “He had passed away recently and one of the mourners, came up to a family a member and said “I didn’t know him very well, but I just wanted to let you know that he made the best chips. Nice to be remembered!”

On a similar note, Susan J Clohesy wrote; “When I was a kid we lived in Walsh Ave at St Mary’s. An old guy named Nick had a fish and chippy a few doors down from us. Always gave us more than we paid for. When his shop burnt down, he sat in the gutter and cried and we kids sat down and cried with him”.

Today with the ‘fast food’ chains opening on almost every second corner, the humble fish and chip shops are becoming thin on the ground, fortunately though a few good ones have survived. I still love to tuck into a meal of take away fish and chips with lots of salt and vinegar. I’d love it even more though if they were still wrapped in newspaper!

7 Responses to When Fish and Chips Came Wrapped in Newspaper.

  1. Greg Wilson November 28, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    When I was going to LeFevre Primary School early 1960s , sometimes at lunchtime I was allowed to buy my lunch. I went to the fish and chip shop Glanville end of Semaphore road. I think the price for a serve of chips threepence.

    • Tony January 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

      One of my fathers bestfriends – George Manuel and his father before him owned and ran that Fish Shop for years – can vividly recall my visits there as a kid.

  2. danny bocchino November 29, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    To Bob Byrne!

    No – it is not your imagination. Those fish’n’chips that were lovingly wrapped in newspaper were most definitely tasted much better than the equivalent of today’s ‘takeaways’.

    Even the beer-battered fish was so much superior to those served up as ‘flake’.

    No, Bob, I do agree with your memories and judgements that back in those days it was the deal for fish’n’chips. Especially with Rosella brand tomato sauces in it.

    • kathy November 29, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Yes fish and chips in news paper,yum,they used to make their own fresh cut chips back then not the frozen ones they sell today,not nice at all.
      thank you for ADELAIDE NOW,LOVE IT.

  3. mike December 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Definitely tasted and smelt better.I remember that fish shop at Elizabeth vale – that Italian guy must have been there forty years wrapping those fish and chips.

  4. Colin Penney December 8, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Yes, Mr. Whites’ fish shop in Elizabeth Street Croydon, six pieces of fish and thripence (three pence) worth of chips, all cooked fresh whilst my brother and self waited.
    Mum and dad would have two pieces each, whilst Alan and myself had one piece each and the serve of chips was more than enough for the four of us.
    Mr. Whites’ son was the father of band leader, Eddie White, who married Edna Etteridge, and later had The Tivoli Hotel.

  5. Glenn October 13, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    Mmmm – I too used walk around the corner from Seacliff primary school at lunch to get a shillings and later 10 cents worth of chips – wrapped in newspaper – I later scored a sort of part time job working there for free chips and some pinball games – The chips were indeed fresh – I hauled bags of unwashed spuds from out the back of the shop and placed them in a cement mixer type arrangement that was coated inside like sandpaper and connected to a hose with running water – it turned for 5 minutes or so then out came all the washed and skinned spuds that I then cut using a heavy duty industrial version of the chip dicers that you now have at home.

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