Fish and chips are served over the counter

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Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
Fish and chips are served over the counter wrapped in paper - at one time newspaper was always used - and the experts say they prefer to eat them straight out of the paper because they taste better that way!
Source: Food and Drink In Britain
Hi,

Does over the counter mean here that the meal:
a) is served/handed to the customer on the counter
b) is handed to the customer above the counter by the vendor
c) can be either a or b
d) is behind the counter
e) something different I am waffling between a and b here


Tom
 
  • Ecossaise

    Senior Member
    English
    The fish and chips are wrapped up in paper and handed to the customer over the top of the counter.

    {sorry about the caps - cap lock was on and I hit return before noticing}
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I guess that the overall message here is that the fish and chips are wrapped up and served to customers like a small parcel. You go out of the shop (you get takeaway fish and chips in a fish and chip shop around here) and you eat the fish and chips as you walk along the street.

    Well it used to be like that.
    Today the fish and chips are inside a very hygienic box, not wrapped in paper.
    Shame really.
    It's not been the same since they stopped wrapping them in old newspapers. That way you got something to read as well as something to eat.

    I should add that it has also always been possible to go inside, sit down, and eat fish and chips off a plate - with a knife and fork if you wish.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thanks .:)
    That was what I more or less expected. A follow up question: can it also be generally understood in the a) sense? For instance, the vendor puts the fish'n'chips on the counter in order to take the money and give the change (if the need be). After they are done with the transaction the customer takes their snack.


    Tom
     

    Mick

    Senior Member
    British English
    ...the vendor puts the fish'n'chips on the counter in order to take the money and give the change (if the need be). After they are done with the transaction the customer takes their snack.
    Yes, it can be understood in that way. There's a counter - usually quite high and shallow - and the person serving will pass the wrapped fish and chips across it, or place the package on the counter.

    I'm glad to say that in my home village in the English Midlands we still get fish and chips wrapped in paper, although it's hygienic white paper (no doubt approved by the EU for food use) and certainly not newspaper. Even in the days of newspaper, I seem to recall there would be a piece of greaseproof paper laid down first, although you did still get that oily newsprint smell rising up, which was all part of the experience.

    But I'm going off topic now - and getting hungry.
     

    Terry Morti

    Senior Member
    UK
    'Over the counter' is a term that means something is sold as if in a shop. So with fish and chips, although it is hot prepared food, it is not served at the table as in a restaurant or even sold to be consumed at the counter as in a diner. It is sold in a wrapped parcel to take away for consumption.

    'Over the counter' medicines are a specific genre of medical products. They are sold in chemists shops by a qualified pharmacist without the need a prescription from a doctor. So they are 'sold' rather than 'dispensed'.
     
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