Taffs, Buttys And Chips. Arterial Blockage And Total Enjoyment
This has absolutely nothing to do with Internet marketing at all but I recently found myself explaining what a “butty” is, and of course the most famous Butty of all is the heart stopping Chip Butty.
Almost Extinct Like The Dodo and, as the art of making a great Chip Butty is, sadly, rapidly becoming a part of history due to our much more healthy lifestyles, I thought a post for posterity is in order so here it is.
What The… Firstly a thought just crossed my mind. What’s the point of the next few generations being a super healthy race of fitness freaks when the Earth is going to self destruct due to Global Warming by 2050?
To Look Forward To… Raising sea levels, glacier retreat, Arctic shrinkage, altered patterns of agriculture, extreme weather events, blockbuster tropical diseases, changes in the timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems, and drastic economic impact which will lead to severe political activism.
While all that’s going on we shall probably see a huge revival in the Chip Butty as, being a few pounds overweight will be the least of your problems. Bring on the comfort food and alcohol I say!! (Perhaps now is the time to start planning a Chip Butty, CB, franchise? I’ll take $1.1M for the original idea).
OK, What Is A Butty?
It’s a Welsh-ism. It can mean either a sandwich or a good friend. (Honestly I have no idea why the double meaning. Perhaps the Taff’s are descendants of the Chinese!) I often think the Welsh have more regard for a good sandwich than a friend anyday. However we are talking about food and the term Butty does however convey a bit more than just being a mere limp sandwich.
To have a great butty you would need fresh baked bread which you slice into “doorstops” of about 3/4 inch thick. Next is the butter, absolutely no spreads or anything remotely healthy, applied with gay, (happy) abandon. The butter must be Welsh, New Zealand or Australian at a push 😉 Absolutely NO European crap buttery type anything should be in a Welshman’s pantry.
==Sidebar on butter==
The reason for the butter being Welsh, NZ or Aussie is that just about all Taffy’s hated the move to the Common Market and European Community especially when New Zealand’s Anchor butter was taken of our shelves in favour of crap European stuff. Through rugby there is a special relationship between the Taffs, Kiwis and Aussies and the Government has never been forgiven for messing with our Colonial friends in favour of the French and Germans despite the French having a moderately good rugby team 😉
The filling can be anything substantial. Lettuce leaves and tomatoes would be laughed at unless they came with chips. McDonald fries are not even in the starting blocks as a contender for real chips – YEchhh!
The chip, (the British contribution to world cuisine), takes on a whole new meaning to a Welshman. To a Taff, a chip represents life. It represents all things good and takes pride of place above animals and marriage, probably in that order.
A real pukka Welsh chip is HUGE, made from old potatoes and fried preferably in lard but anything capable of giving a full arterial blockage, like beef dripping, is quite acceptable.
Size of chip: The Welsh have a thing about size! Although there is no exact documentation relating to the size of a Welsh Chip, (WC), a good indication would be that if McDonalds could get 25 – 30 fries from a single potato the Welsh would get 4 chips and possibly a bit extra which would also be fried and eaten.
Old Potatoes: Most people don’t get to know this until later years but as it has a direct impact on the “staff of life”, Welsh kids learn that the starch in old potatoes turns to sugars when fried, (no mention of baking), which gives the chip a wonderful sweet taste when properly cooked. The kids learn this fact before they are allowed to play with clay or paint their faces in strange colors to do battle with the English.
Pork Lard: Heavy white saturated blocks of pig fat are the stuff of dreams to a Welshman. Pretty girls and available women rank a mere 3’rd or 4’th in the table of delight for a Taffy. A mothers homemade gravy and sheep are big contenders for positions 2 and 3. (I read on a food blog that lard has no Trans Fat. Does that mean we can spread this stuff on our butties in place of non European butter?)
The flavor given to the chip by lard is exquisite. As the chips are fried at a lower temperature than the healthy (er) vegetable oil and also because the chips are huge and take more time to cook, the flavor of the pig fat just oozes into the potato and stays there. No amount of kitchen roll will absorb this fat and, in fact, shame on the Taffy that even thinks of using kitchen roll.
La Pièce de Résistance. You now have your 2 doorstops, thickly spread with non European butter and filled with about 10 lard soaked “big boy” chips. If you can cram more chips on that’s OK. The topping will either be Heinz Tomato Ketchup or HP Brown Sauce. No other toppings are acceptable in a traditional Welsh Butty unless you are adding an egg or two also fried in lard. (Again, no kitchen roll)
A suspected modern trend is toward using Heinz Chilli Sauce but little data exists as people are just not willing to admit to this for fear of being named and shamed by the Welsh community. Grandmothers in mid Welsh villages are generally in favour of stoning wrong doers and the North Welsh just set the houses on fire.
You see, it never was the “Sons Of Glyndwr” setting alight to thousands, (well OK ten), English holiday homes. Oh No. It was really a Chip Butty discussion which got out of hand.
So what does a Butty represent?
It represents satisfaction, fullfilment and extreme enjoyment. In fact it’s a whole way of life for a lot of people in the few remaining traditional Welsh villages. The old guys, (and I suppose the Welsh Grandmothers), would sigh with total contentment if you were to mention 10 pints of Rhymney bitter and a Chip Butty.
It’s a dying art and we can only hope that one day there will be a fitting tribute to the great Welsh Chip Butty in the National Museum Of Wales. (That’s the place that keeps the war paint and axes for fighting the English).
Hope that explains what a butty is.