Shortlisted for Debut Food Book of the Year at the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards 2024

Guild of Food Writers 2024 Finalist, Food Book of the Year

‘A lyrical, amiable and educational celebration of what may be our greatest achievement: the chippy.’ Stuart Maconie

Step inside and unwrap this deliciously entertaining look at Britain’s national dish.

There is a corner of every town and city in Britain where the air is tangy with vinegar and the scent of frying. Following the irresistible lure, Daniel Gray ponders the magic of chippies and the delights they have sprinkled among us for the last 150 years as he investigates the social – and sociable – history of fish and chips.

Travelling to chippies from Dundee to Devon via South Shields, Oldham, Bradford, Bethnal Green, the Rhondda Valley and more – Daniel Gray explores our fish-and-chip nation to show how chippies have helped emancipate women, promote equality for immigrants and shape local and national identity.

Whether you were raised eating scraps of Wolverhampton’s orange chips, London’s ‘wallies’ or Hull’s chip spice – even if you think you know whether tea, Vimto or dandelion and burdock is the best accompaniment – this mouth-watering book is as much about who we are as what we eat.

About the author(s)

Daniel Gray is a writer, broadcaster and magazine editor from York. He has published a host of critically acclaimed books on football and social history, edits <i>Nutmeg</i> magazine and presents the <i>When Saturday Comes</i> podcast. Daniel has presented history programmes on television and written for the BBC. His previous book, <i>The Silence of the Stands</i>, was shortlisted for Football Book of the Year at the <i>Sunday Times</i> Sports Book Awards 2023. @d_gray_writer


‘This is a lyrical, amiable and educational celebration of what, alongside The Beatles, Shakespeare and the NHS, may be our greatest achievement: the “chippy”. Fair warning, it will make you very hungry.’ Stuart Maconie

'Daniel Gray writes with great humour and takes tender delight in the people he meets. His book is as warm and comforting as a bag of chips on a cold night.' Peter Ross

'Engaging … Sprinkled with a digestible amount of social history and commentary. Like the dish, leaves you with a warm feeling afterwards.' Daily Mail

‘Light bite rather than a full fish supper, this is a delightful mix of travelogue and fish-flavoured fact. Good fun.' Annie Gray

‘Gray is a master at finding the universal in the local and the profound in the so-called everyday.' Ian McMillan

‘As satisfying and tangy as a pineapple fritter after the swimming baths.’ Harry Pearson

'A beautifully written paean to our greatest meal.' Stephen Moss

‘Witty, authoritative and timely. … Vivid, rich prose shimmering with warmth and a belief in the fundamental goodness of people.’ The New European

‘Warm, wise and witty.’ Charlie Connelly

'A highly entertaining, historically nuanced account. Wonderfully atmospheric.' Andrew Martin

‘An affectionate appreciation of a great British institution. As tasty as a fresh cod.' Arthur Matthews

‘There's a fantastic musicality to Gray's writing. We hear the sizzle of the fryer, the lilts of local accents and the buzz in the air as people wait in anticipation for their food.’ The Scots Magazine

More History

More Cooking

More English, Scottish & Welsh

More Regional & Cultural

More Europe

More History