Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The Wooden Spoon.
| posted by Simon |
8:41 pm |
I was born in Ashton under Lyne, which makes me a Lancastrian. Strange thought it may seem, I have never lived in Lancashire, I spend the first twenty-nine years of my life living in Cheshire, then moved to Cumbria. The thing is I really like Lancashire people; I like the bluntness and deeply ingrained sarcasm. Whenever people say, “I don’t suffer fools gladly” I think of Lancashire people. So, still on a bit of a food theme, I want to tell you about probably the best fish and chips in the world.
Years ago, in Ashton, before the “new” council offices were built, there was an old row of shops. In the middle of this row was a chippy called the Wooden Spoon. It consisted of a take out at the front and a café at the back, it was always packed out, and although I don’t remember the food I do remember it being knocked down to make way for the concrete monstrosity that is the council offices. Fortunately the café re-opened in the new bus station, and this is the one I remember. If you weren’t from Ashton you would never have found it, tucked away in a dingy corner of a piss-stinking bus station, it wasn’t really conducive to eating a nice meal. Once you got past the location and the queue you were in for a real treat.
You sat in a little booth designed for four people, it wasn’t the Ritz but it was kept spotlessly clean. The waitresses were friendly and old enough to know how to do their job properly. Throughout my experiences in the Wooden Spoon I never once looked at the menu. I had Cod, chips and mushy peas with bread and butter and a pot of tea.
The Cod was fresh; it was creamy and melted in the mouth. The batter was light and crispy and not awash with grease. Both the fish and the chips were cooked in beef dripping, which in my opinion is the only way to cook them, consequently the chips were fat, golden brown and cooked to perfection. With proper mushy peas and fresh bread and butter, this is one of my all-time favourite meals.
They knocked it down when the new bus station was built, and the owners couldn’t afford the price of the new place that was offered to them. It closed for good and the batter recipe was lost forever.
We have spent years trying to find fish and chips as nice as the wooden spoon. So far we have failed, although we have found a few that come close, none have bettered it.