Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cornish Fish, Chips, Media and Things

Summer holidays here again and rather than break away to some exotic clime or far away place mrs maytrees and I took advantage of generous friend's offer to holiday in his townhouse in Hayle.

Hayle  unlike many parts of Cornwall  is an ordinary working town with few obvious holiday homes although there are many such by the sand dunes not far out of town. One of the other  great attractions of Hayle    is that the nearby beaches stretch on for miles (five plus I think)  so that even in the highest season   there is a   freedom in the wide open expanses of sea sand and surf.  Much as I loved our last foray abroad to Italy a couple of years back the regulation control and crowds on their beaches at the seaside are very off putting. Of course one does not really visit Tuscany for its sea and sand...

A highlight so far was a visit  earlier this week to Falmouth. Less touristy than St Ives and less crowded as a consequence. A great attraction for those brought up on the British culinary traditions is the new Rick Stein fish restuarant opposite the National Maritime Museum. A large, clean, light space with modern wood furnishings - not too many of them -  open kitchens and a view of the  busy naval zone of the harbour from the   window bench table made for a great atmosphere. Mrs maytrees chose a slightly sophisticated roasted mackeral dish whereas I opted for the typical, traditional even,  beer battered cod , beef dripping fried chips and mushy peas. So delicious that that meal will be the benchmark against which all subesquent fish and chip meals will be measured. Mrs maytrees was by comparison slightly disappointed with her selection.

 Perhaps of greater interest than the meal itself was our conversation with the young waitress serving us. She was from Denmark and in answer to my question about whether there was any equivalent indigenous  Danish  fast food dish  to fish and chips, she thought not beyond perhaps their open sandwiches. The Danish peoples' thoughts would  she felt  be of the health aspects eg batter etc in the meal. I queried this, after all the cod forms the main stay and is itself healthy though  stocks of cod in the North Sea are sadly very depleted  and pointed out that my brother on being compelled to seek work abroad after the onset of the recession a year back worked for the EU in Finland for a few months. He reported that the food there was unappetisng and that fish and chips would have been very welcome had such existed there.

 The  Rick Stein waitress  with other friends from Denmark  were not only  working in Cornwall  during the holidays but said that  she was also studying journalism at uni in England, which I suppose speaks loudly about the health of the British media at present compared with  some media elsewhere.

The weather - well Italy  of course wins hands down but the sun has shone over Cornwall.


  1. Fish and chips is or are what I miss most about England, Jerry! My benchmark is a pub/restaurant at Start Point near Kingsbridge in South Devon. No doubt not in the Rick Stein class but very good just the same.

  2. TX for your comment Barnaby; I'll try to remember the Start Point when next in Kingsbridge.

    Meanwhile further south, holidays continue.

    Today's culinary Cornish delight was to be found at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in the Watergate (no not that one) Beach Hut near Newquay. I don't usually associate sea sun and sand with haute cuisine but when he is not doing ads for Sainsbury's or cooking school dinners, his own restaurant meals are pretty good.


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