Egg and chips

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Egg and chips

Egg and chips is a popular working-class dish in the United Kingdom, consisting simply of chips served with fried eggs. Food writer Mary Cadogan says that "Egg and chips for me is a marriage made in heaven. Whenever I feel the need of a bit of comfort eating this is the dish I usually turn to."[1] Heston Blumenthal, owner of the Michelin star award-winning Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, wrote in The Guardian that "You can't get much more British a dish than fried egg and chips."[2]


Egg and chips is associated with a working-class diet, and one writer has even cited it as a dish which members of the middle classes might find 'shameful' in wanting.[3] In an article on moving from the working class to the middle class, a British journalist recounted that "There are things I grew up with that I still love—pub life, darts, egg and chips".[4] Jack Charlton, after playing in the World Cup-winning England football team in 1966, remarked: "We stopped the car for egg and chips in a transport cafe. We'd eaten nothing but the best food for weeks and I was dying for some ordinary grub."[5] The image of British people insisting on ordering egg and chips while on holiday abroad has also been used as a stereotype.[6]


In a study on the perceptions of social inequality of people in North West England, "Beer, fags, egg and chips" was highlighted by the researchers as an example of individual behaviour thought to be connected to poor health.[7]

In Tanzania, egg and chips—called chipsimayai locally—is sold by street vendors, and is associated with poor nutrition and hygiene.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

Egg and chips was a favourite of John Lennon

Egg and chips was John Lennon's favourite food. His Aunt Mimi would prepare it for him with a cup of tea.[9][10]

The dish features in art as well as in real life. Egg and chips occupies a pivotal moment in the suffocating life of a working-class Liverpool housewife in Shirley Valentine. "Because it's Thursday, Shirley knows that Joe expects steak and chips for his tea. He is getting egg and chips instead... But Joe ... is not pleased at his meatless meal. He pushes his plate into her lap. That settles it. Two weeks later he comes home and finds an empty house."[11]

In an episode from season 8 of Are You Being Served?, a store video featuring the face of Miss Brahms and the deep, sexy voice of Mr Grace's nurse attracts the attention of Lord Hirly, who invites Miss Brahms and her family to be his guests at the very posh Romano's restaurant. Captain Peacock and Mrs Slocombe stand in for Mr and Mrs Brahms, while Mr Humphries plays a bishop. On seeing the prices, Mrs Slocombe remarks that, on their wages, all they could afford would be egg and chips - but as Lord Hirly is footing the bill, they order pâté de foie gras, pheasant, guinea fowl, and venison. His Lordship does arrive but, alas, it was the nurse's low, sexy voice that attracted him - and she happens to be dining at the next table, so that's the end of Miss Brahms's upward mobility. Captain Peacock then calls over the waiter to request a slight change in their order: "Egg and chips four times, and a pot of tea." [12]

The dish's status as a cornerstone of authentic British cuisine is solidified by its regular inclusion in modern popular culture. It features regularly in television depictions of British life, such as the long-running soap series Coronation Street, where it constitutes part of recurring character Johnny "Doc" Docherty's infamous catch phrase, "You've just had your tea, Lesley - Egg and Chips!".[13] Egg and chips was also a favourite food for Tommies behind the lines on the Western Front during WW1, often washed down with cheap French wine 'plonk'.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cadogan, Mary (10 April 2008). "Egg and chips". Good Food blog. BBC. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  2. ^ Blumenthal, Heston (22 June 2002). "Good fry day". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  3. ^ Lupton, Deborah (1996). Food, the Body and the Self (Illustrated, reprint ed.). SAGE. p. 97. ISBN 0-8039-7648-8.
  4. ^ Hopwood, Beverley (18 April 1996). "Class: For Sammy the difference between being working class and middle class was a university degree. For Mike, the difference was a few million quid. They discuss the experience of moving up a class with Beverley Hopwood". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  5. ^ "I celebrated after winning the World Cup by having egg and chips in a transport café". Evening Chronicle. 24 September 2002. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  6. ^ Driscoll, Margarette (22 August 2004). "You'd better get used to the wet". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  7. ^ Popay, Jennie; Bennett, Sharon; Thomas, Carol; Williams, Gareth; Gatrell, Anthony; Bostock, Lisa (2003). "Beyond `beer, fags, egg and chips'? Exploring lay understandings of social inequalities in health". Sociology of Health & Illness. Blackwell Publishing. 25 (1): 1–23. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.t01-1-00322.
  8. ^ Dickinson, Daniel (25 November 2003). "The battle for Tanzanian stomachs". BBC Africa Live!. BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  9. ^ Jenkins, Russell (28 March 2003). "Beat goes on in Lennon's childhood home". The Times. London. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  10. ^ The kitchen, The National Trust, accessed 16 June 2009.
  11. ^ Maddox, Brenda (12 February 1989). "Shirley Decides She's Had Enough". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  12. ^ "Season 8 images". Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  13. ^ Coronation Street, 11 May 2012, Johnny Doc (Tony Hirst) deploys his catchphrase.