The Chips are Down
August 14, 2015
A work colleague looked at me with what can only be described as “abject horror” when, during a conversation about our culinary specialities, I spoke with proud about my very old, much loved and very well used “chip pan”. At first they saw fit to correct me with “you mean deep fat fryer” and I had to clarify that it was not a deep fat fryer but a “chip pan” complete with metal “chip basket”. It had been part of my kitchen for twenty years (together with its companion the “crinkle chip cutter” and I envisaged that I would get at least another twenty years out of it.
Their horror at my revelation was only slightly lessened when I answered their next statement with “no”. Their statement being “I suppose you still use lard too?”. (I suspect that has something to do with the fact that, despite having migrated south, my still-slightly-flat vowels from my Blackpool birthplace do give away the fact that I am “a northerner”. But no. Chip pan does not contain lard. It contains extra virgin olive oil.
I was surprised at just how surprised they were to learn that I still do good old-fashioned chips. I think part of their astonishment was due to the fact that they know I am on trying to lose weight and have noted that I am having some success in my mission so far. I think that added to their confusion even more… the idea that “losing weight” and “eating home-made deep-fried chips” could somehow be part of the same lifestyle.
I have always liked home-made chips. My mum used to make them when I was very little (with lard… and dare I say it… occasionally dripping… in the pan). They were not her piece de resistance.. that honour has to go to her Lancashire Hot Pot, but the chips were always a close second. I have appear to have only a little of my mum’s culinary DNA – chips are about the only thing I make that people remark on – and what are “specifically ordered” if we have close friends or family coming round to dine. But egg and chips can be food of the Gods… (particularly with a thick slice of buttered bread and a good dollop of “brown sauce”).
Sorry if, by now, you’re feeling hungry and longing for a plate of chips. That isn’t my intention. But it does beautifully illustrate why I’ve waxed lyrical about my chip pan. Because even though I’m watching what I eat and making a conscious effort to shed inches from my waistline.. there still is and will always be a place for my chip pan in my kitchen… and deep brown crinkle-cut home-made chips will continue to appear on the menu at Hudson HQ.
That’s why WLR works. Because nothing is off limits.
I do not like oven chips. I know many people are fans but to me they are just pale dry bits of warmed potato. I can count the number of times I have had them on one hand. On the other hand.. I run out of fingers when I’m trying to work out how many times I’ve had the “ovenable” version of their sweet potato counterparts. There is usually a bag lurking in the freezer and they are delicious with a fresh fillet when Lovely Husband and I decide to do “posh fish and chips”. But the reason I like the sweet potato variety is because they don’t take like chips to me. They put me more in mine of roast parsnips not some below-par version of an old favourite.
As an “old favourite”, back in the “old days” my chips would be served up at least a couple of times a week. Nowadays they appear only every six weeks to eight weeks. We will be having them on Saturday night as my twin sister is travelling from “up north” to spend the weekend and has specifically ordered them for supper. We shall all have a small plate of chips and a couple of slices of fresh farmhouse bread with butter. It will be a “chip butty of joy”.. and yes it will be calorific but it will also be a treat and something that I am looking forward to and which I know I will enjoy. They will not be served again until we are well into Autumn and probably not before my birthday during the last week of October.
I’ve said in the past that if I thought I had to spend the rest of my life without eating some of the food which brings me pleasure then life would be considerably less pleasurable. “My chips” are very definitely on that list. I acknowledge that their historic three-times-a-week appearances of the past contributed to the expansion of my waistline, but it was not the chips themselves that were the cause.. it my endless scheduling of them as part of our meals; the fact that the plate on which they were piled high was considerably bigger than the plates we use now; the fact that instead of limiting myself to just two slices of bread I would butter at least half-a- loaf and just pile it up on a plate on a “help-yourself” basis. I would eat mindlessly not paying any attention to the quantity of food I was consuming and, most times, didn’t even savour the flavour of the chips.
Now it is completely different. They are factored into a generally very healthy eating plan. They are an “event” not “just routine”. They are something to be enjoyed as a planned treat. They are not “bad” for me in moderation. I do not have to regard them with horror or feel that I have somehow “failed” in my weight loss attempts because I have eaten them. I can enjoy them without beating myself up about eating them. I can keep my crinkle cutter and chip pan in service. They have not been made redundant.. they just work on a far more “part time” basis than in the past.
But that’s why WLR works… because it is about making informed choices. It about considering all the options. It is about taking the knowledge and wisdom and the shared secrets and strategies and using them to create a way of eating and more importantly a way of life that means you can be the size and shape you really want to be… for as long as you want to be… without being utterly miserable… (which is what life might be for me I thought I could never again have my homemade chips…) which are on the menu tonight… so the chips really will be down!
Have a wonderful weekend.
With a hug