Originally Posted by Nonk
I have heard the very same thing, but then again I am 35 and have never seen a Fish & Chip shop actually sell them in old newspaprers, pre or post ban.
The real secret is in the cooking fat and quality of spuds.
In England fish and chips were certainly wrapped in newspaper, but the food itself was not placed directly on the newsprint - plain paper or a sort of thin greaseproof paper were used. This was certainly the case in the 60s and 70s when I was growing up.
As Nonk says, the quality of the spuds and fat matters, and so does the quality of the fish. Indeed, there are distinct regional variations - in the land of unpleasant beer (the south of England), vegetable oil is used for frying, and the batter is usually a lurid yellow colour. In the north, beef dripping is still used at better fisheries, the batter is a golden brown, and the taste much better.
Alas, many places these days use revolting processed batter mixes, and many of the shops are run by Chinese, who don't seem to have the 'feel' for proper fish and chips - rather like some of the 'Chinese' take-outs in Northern ireland, run by Ulstermen.
I have had some very good steak in the US (though there sometimes seemed to be an obsession with size over quality), but far and away the best I've ever eaten was at the Naval & Military Club in London (aka The In & Out). All their beef comes from one farm in Scotland, and their meat is beautifully hung, and never frozen.