Our gift to the nation: fish and chips

It's national fish and chip day and a new film celebrating the contribution of refugees salutes one Jewish addition to the British menu


One of the most enduring Jewish contributions to popular British culture is hailed in a new short film made by the International Rescue Committee to celebrate the benefits refugees bring to the societies that accept them: fish and chips.

“A national institution, a culinary delight,” enthuses TV presenter Gary Lineker (r at the start of the film, which has been launched on national fish and chip day on Friday.

It explains that fried fish was "a bit Spanish, a bit Portuguese" and brought to  this country by Jewish refugees in the 16th century: chips owed their origin to Protestants fleeing religious persecution in France.

It was another refugee, Joseph Malin (who also happened to be Jewish) who commercially combined them, opening the first fish and chip shop in the East End of London in the 1860s.

Jo Brand and Yasmin Kadi also feature as respectively the voice of fish and chips.

The film is intended to spread a simple message, said president of the New York-based IRC David Miliband, “that when we welcome refugees, they strengthen our communities at every level and sometimes in unexpected ways”.



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