Jellied Eels, Anyone?
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Jellied Eels, Anyone?

August 14, 2019

– [Narrator] So, these are jellied eels. Eels in jelly. – [Booming Voice] Jellied eels! – [Narrator] And these are ells with no jelly, like, loads of eels, drawers of eels! Hold on to your seats! This might get a bit weird. (quirky music) So, we’ve got this giant
giggly bowl of jellied eels (animated piano music)
from this guy. – My name is John Chilvers. I work for Micks Eel Supply in Billingsgate Fish Market. We supply live eels to the
catering trade, public. I’ve been selling eels
for 33 years since I left school. I have some lovely eels here. These are all farmed from Holland. They’re like the Rolls
Royce of the jellied eels. They’re very, very slippery like some of my customers.
(animated piano music) – [Narrator] Back in the 18th century, London’s River Thames was
crawling with these eels. Nowadays, John is one of
the last few eel suppliers in London. So John, why were they so popular? – You need to speak to one of the older fish mongers for that.
(animated piano music) – [Narrator] Oh! Uh, okay, then. – [Man] I’m 72 years old,
and I eat eels every day. – [Narrator] Perfect! So, Frank of Bradley’s Fish Supply, what made them so popular back then? – In those days, it was no brainer: Everybody ate jellied eels. It was an easy source to get. Very simple. You’d put a hook out and
they catch their self. Eels are really edible. And they were full of goodness. The people didn’t realize it then but they were, they were
eating a real good product. And we didn’t have Indian, Chinese take-away, kabobs, everything else. It was a source of food. – [Narrator] So, how do you make them? – Quite easy to prepare. Head off, guts out, chopped in pieces, then we cooked them. The process of cooking is more of an art. You need them to be very soft. Now if you go past being soft, all you’ve got is mash. – [Narrator] Thanks, Frank. (bell rings) So, pie shop owner, Kane: What do they go well with? – Jellied eels and stewed
eels are very traditional with pie, mash, and liquor
in the East End of London. So, you know, it’s not for everybody. The world’s changing a little bit. You do either like ’em or hate them. Probably in the old days, we would go through maybe 50
or 60 bowls of eels a week. Probably now, we might do 10 or 12. So, if you think about food around the world, you think about Paris and their baguettes. New York, you think about the pizzas, the New York cheesecakes. That’s what they’re synonymous for. London, the traditional food in London is pie, mash and eels. That is our staple diet. – [Narrator] And the taste? – [Kane] It’s like eating, basically, a chunky white fish. (perky music)
(jelly jiggling) (perky music) ♫ It must be love
– [Man] Mmm! ♫ It must be love
– [Man] Mmm! ♫ It must be love ♫
– [Man] Mmm!

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