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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Chip butty anyone?

If we close our eyes for a second whilst walking down most high streets in Britain today we will encounter one or two things: either a surprise smack in the face from the unseen lamppost or more likely, a new coffee shop opened where the bank once stood.

Coffee in its many and varied guises ranging from ‘all froth and no substance’ to a milky mouthful of mocha is now out there on every street corner, earning its purveyors a fair few beans. Wherever humankind can possibly cram another Starbucks or Prêt à Manger into an available nook or cranny of real estate its addicts will flock there. As I write this first blog from home the cappuccino cravers will be plumping up the leather armchairs by the shop window and dreaming of overdrafts needed to pay for the next round.

Why am I writing this blog?

Well, I thought that I would have some fun and observe life from the inside not only in the major players emporiums of caffeine and almond flaked croissants but also the lowly caff; home to steamy windows, a mug of strong tea and a chip butty… eight sugars in the tea please, duck.

Notes for American readers:

Caff rhymes with gaff which means home (my gaff) and a caff can be a home from home for some. Bit like a diner, or on second thoughts, maybe not.

A chip butty is a cob full of chips.

Chips are fries but fatter and made of real potatoes traditionally deep-fried in lard or beef dripping. Do not confuse these delicious morsels with any of those anorexic pretenders from Mc Donalds.

The term butty refers to butter and not a polite term for a bottom or ‘fanny’ as you guys like to say.

A cob is a round article of fluffy white bread, usually sliced in half for fillings and the word cob has nothing to do with corn on the cob or ‘having a cob on’ which is another thing entirely. Bap is another word for cob. I’m confusing you now, aren’t I?

To even further confuse the matter you could ask for a chip sarnie. That’s chips in buttered white sliced bread. Sarnie means sandwich. These are not available in Harrods try as you might at the deli counter.

‘Duck’ is an East Midlands (that’s Robin Hood country) term of affection e.g. How’re you doin’ me duck? Elizabeth, Queen of England never uses this expression but she does allegedly eat duck.

Well, I hope that is all clear now.

Tomorrow I go on my first blogging trip to a caff or coffee shop to see what I can report. Yay!



Rick said...

Having once been a baker, can I correct you on your cob/bap reference? A cob generally is crispy and a bap is generally soft. There. :)

Anonymous said...

It is funny how cobs are probably the most confusing item to describe as you travel around this country - I must have had countless conversations about what I really meant when I have said cob

Phil Lowe said...

Thanks for the correction Rick. I bow to your insider knowledge. Dave, you are spot on. I've also noticed that chip shops across the country have differing names for the same dish. Ask for a curry mix in some of them and they look at at you blankly.