It's Christmas, which means roast dinners, mince pies, large joints of ham, general nibbles and being debilitatingly full for the better half of a week. Hoping to make that fullness even more overwhelming but not sure how? Deep fry all of the above, of course!
"We've been doing the mince pies and pigs in blankets for a few years now, so just thought we'd go the whole way," explains Bill Rai, owner of Oh My Cod, the chippy in Spalding, Lincolnshire that serves an entire deep fried Christmas dinner. "We've had a good reaction from our customers – they've been pleasantly surprised by how good the sprouts and stuffing taste."
But Bill, why? "Well, fish and chips are a national favourite, and like everything else people want to try something different," he explains. "A few customers kept tagging us in Facebook posts about it as well."
Fair play, Bill: I know better than anyone that whenever someone asks you to do something, no matter how ridiculous that thing is, you have to do it. Related: I ate the entire deep fried Christmas dinner. This is how it tasted.
In Dr Seuss's book Green Eggs and Ham, a character called Sam I Am tries relentlessly to get his friend – who does not like the look of green eggs and ham – to eat green eggs and ham. The guy is a real fucking weirdo about it, quite aggressively forcing the meal on his friend, who finally relents and decides that, actually, he doesn't mind green eggs and ham after all.
Trying a deep fried Brussel sprout is a lot like that, because it does not look good, but does, in fact, slap. Bill was right.
Can confirm: Bill was also right about the stuffing.
Chips are not roast potatoes, and even though fish and chip chips rank nearly at the top of the cooked potato ranking, which goes like this:
– Fish and chip chips
– Curly fries
– McDonald’s chips
– Burger King chips
– Baked potato
– Boiled potatoes
– KFC chips
They cannot compete with a roast potato, even a deep fried one. Also, the cognitive dissonance I experienced when eating roast-flavoured items while enjoying a cooked potato that wasn't a roast one scarred me for all of the five minutes it took to eat the meal.
DEEP FRIED ROAST (I THINK? COULDN'T TELL IF IT HAD BEEN ROASTED BEFORE IT WAS DEEP FRIED) CHICKEN LEG AND THIGH
Ah, man. I don't want to bad mouth Oh My Cod, because Bill was a lovely guy and this whole meal is basically a novelty thing just done for a laugh, but deep fried roast chicken is a very bad idea. My first couple of bites were basically all batter and chicken skin, which had turned that rubbery grey colour under what was quite a hefty layer of golden grease.
And the thing is, it doesn't get any easier after the first few shuddering bites. Eating chicken on the bone requires a good view of the chicken: you need to know where to bite to get the maximum amount of flesh in your mouth. But when everything is blurred by a layer of batter, you're left biting blind, meaning the results were a wildly unpredictable level of flesh to batter to chicken skin ratio. Even gravy didn't help – and if gravy can't make it better, then buddy, you got a problem.
PIGS IN BLANKETS
I was actually really looking forward to this: not one, but two (2) types of pork coiled in a sweet embrace, then deep fried into oblivion, like an edible version of the tragic lovers of Pompeii. Unfortunately, the bacon was severely undercooked and tasted like someone scratching their nails down a chalkboard.
After the chaotic good that was the deep fried roast dinner, it was time to end the whole procession with the chaotic evil that is a deep fried dessert, in this case a baked pie with a fermented fruit filling that, despite its name, contains NO MINCED MEAT.
Anyway, this thing was a great way to end my deep fried roast, because it was great. Even though you have to work your way through two types of crust – one deep fried, one baked – when you finally land in the molten core of fermented fruit, it's a delicious little explosion of sweetness that instantly scolds the inside of your mouth and makes you do that "Hooocgh, hohh hohh" noise you make when you have a mouth full of painfully hot food.