Behold the British culinary wonderment that is the chip butty! I watched my beloved eat this object not six hours ago. Wikipedia blandly defines “butty” as “a sandwich in British slang.” Which doesn’t get at the thing at all. Dictionary.com helpfully backs up my assumption that the word derives from “butter” (~1850) — the Brits being inclined to use butter (rather than, say, mayonnaise) as bread moistener in sandwiches.
Shall I blurt it out? Can you bear it? The thing on the plate is a BUTTERED FRENCH FRY SANDWICH ON WHITE BREAD.
There. I said it. Let’s sit down and rest a moment.
The typical British chip is short and squat and cooked to a place far shy of crispy. Fat squishy buttered french fries on white bread. Okay? Are you getting what I’m talking here?
The thing in front is, as you may have guessed, a slab of fried cod. Fish and chips aren’t nearly the staple of the British diet they once were (restaurants that still serve this classic often have names like Wing Wah). Still, everyone has a favorite local, especially out from town. And when it’s good, it’s very very good, even now.
The fish, I mean. This thing they do with the chips when they get home…well. I’m not piling on; I’m trying to prepare you for THIS:
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, this is a bacon butty. Yes. It’s what you think.