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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Carlisle chip shop answers American couple's pattie SOS

The reputation of a Carlisle chip shop’s “meat and tattie pattie” has gone global.

For years, staff at the Central Chippy in Harraby have sold the delicacy, which consists of a battered ball of mashed potato with a tasty heart of gravy-sodden minced beef and onions.

Served up with chips for as little as £3 as a lunchtime special, the meal has long been a favourite with customers.

But last year, a young American couple who were driving through Cumbria at the end of a UK holiday popped into the shop and tried the patty – and were so impressed that they have never forgotten it.

The shop’s owner John Morrison, 61, thought no more about it – until 8.20pm last Thursday.

That was when he took a phone call from the male half of the American couple who had been in his shop a few months earlier.

John said: “At first, I thought it was a wind-up.

“He told me that his wife was 21 weeks pregnant and when he’d asked her what she fancied to eat she’d said she’d give anything for one of those meat and tattie patties.”

The man, Matt Leham, from Ohio, in the US, heaped high praise on the pattie, telling John in an email: “It was one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten and my wife Tegan said the same. “She’s now 21 weeks pregnant and was saying she wanted to go back to the UK just so she could go to your restaurant.

“So I'd like to surprise her with the next best thing by giving her a recipe or at least some tips to how it's made. Would you be willing to share a recipe or some tips on how to make them?”

Mr Morrison said he was more than happy to help Mr Leham – though he was quick to share the credit for the pattie with his colleague at the chip shop Pam Wood, 48, who had suggested putting the mince in the middle rather than mixing it throughout the mash.

Tegan told the News & Star: “It was a stroke of luck that landed us in the Central Chippy looking for lunch.

“We walked in, poorly-informed Americans, not knowing what it was we were trying to find or what sort of foods one finds in a ‘chippy’.

“We selected the ball of potato, meat, and gravy based mainly on its pleasing spherical shape and asked the lady behind the counter what it was. The lady there told us, but we didn’t know what the words “mince” and “tattie” meant, so we just bought it and got back in the rental car, not really knowing what we were about to eat. It was the best accident we made during the trip

“When we were back home, we recounted the wonders of the mince and tattie to our friends and relatives with equal enthusiasm as I did those of Hampton Court Palace and the Carrickfergus Castle,” she added.

“I even showed them photos I had taken of it with my cell phone. I have literally had dreams about it.”

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