Jul 19, 2008
Fun - Fish n Chips
In India, yesterday's newspapers move fast beyond the raddi man. They are vital for 'atom bombs' and other Sivakasi fireworks. In Kashmir, papier mache objects are dependent on them. Bhelpuri on beaches is commonly served in them, as are hot pakoras and jalebis. They are the south's lifeline for parcelling idli-vada. Abroad, when not relegated to humiliating existence as linings for birdcages and collecting doggie poop, fish-like stunned mullet are covered in old newspapers. But perhaps it is in Britain that old newspapers are most revered. For ages they have been used to wrap batter-fried fillet of cod with fried potatoes. In distant Hong Kong, that tradition continues with restaurants serving the fare even if it means importing old English newspapers. So, expats get the genuine article when they lob up Wanchai's Joe Bananas or Mad Dog and Englishmen. Post take-over, UK's biggest culinary discovery is now served faithfully in the old 'South China Morning Post' . No, sir, fish 'n' chips will not quite be the same if not served in yesterday's newspaper. Besides tradition, it has long been suspected that the wrappings play a role in promoting interest in the printed medium. English workers, for instance, while putting back the fishy fare are often found poring over 'The Guardian' or 'The Daily Telegraph '. And for good reason. There, in the crumpled depths of the oily sheets, is 'all the news that's fit to print': Angelina Jolie and her five-pound bundles of joy. Bush threatens to bomb Iran (again). Gas prices soar. Tendulkar clobbers some hapless bowler all over the park. And when burly yellow helmeted 'lads' gather over fish 'n' chips, jokes flow fast and furious as they poke each other's beer-bellies and point to 'The Sun's seemingly inexhaustible supply of pin-ups of top-heavy babes. So, where does all this leave the desi abroad pining for taaza khabar and home food? Here's an idea that's likely to be widely and heartily endorsed by one and all: wrap takeout tandoori chicken in yesterday's mass-circulated vernacular daily. Influence the publication to load the daily with generous dollops of mirch-masala, say, Rakhi Sawant in revealing ghagra-choli! As the Wah! Wah! fills the air of Birmingham and beyond, the ecstatic Indian diaspora may well go ballistically Balle! Balle!