[Sca-cooks] kippering

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Jun 22 02:46:06 PDT 2009

On Jun 22, 2009, at 1:49 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Adamantius replied to me with:
> Stefan: While the term "kippered" goes back to 12th century or so,  
> what we
> think of as "kippered" fish or "kippers" apparently dates to just
> the 19th century and refers to a lightly smoked fish, one where the
> smoking is mostly for flavor. This fish required the speed of the
> railroads to transport it to market before it spoiled since there
> wasn't enough smoking to add much preservation qualities.
> Adamantius: I dunno about that; real kippered herring from Scotland  
> are pretty
> powerful critters, and really should be soaked a bit before cooking
> and eating. Mostly it's salt, rather than a heavy smoking, but it's
> not like there's no preservative action taking place. Smoke, per se,
> isn't much of a preservative on its own; it has some antibacterial and
> insect repellent qualities, but it's the salting and drying that
> generally accompany it that usually do most of the work. Unless you're
> talking about canned kipper snack fillets, for which the main
> preservation process is... canning.
> ------
> Okay, For once I can find where I read this. From the same book I  
> mentioned, "Fish on Friday, Feasting, Fasting and the Discovery of  
> the New World", p 47, 48.
> The footnote on p 47:
> "A note on herring terminology for uninitiated readers: the kipper  
> is lightly salted then smoked, the word coming from "kippering", a  
> 1326 verb that means "to cure a fish by cleaning, salting and  
> spicing it" Kippers and bloaters were associated with Yarmouth,  
> England, but were produced all along the eastern English coast,  
> especailly in Northumberland, where the kippering process was  
> invented in the 1840s."
> On page 48:
> "John Woodger of Seahouses in Northumberland invented the kippering  
> process in the 1840s. A relatively mild cure, it was ideal in an era  
> when rail transportation wafted herrings from smoker to kitchen in a  
> few hours.  Such light preservation would have been unthinkable in  
> earlier times,, when fish took days, even weeks or months to reach  
> their destination. The waters of the Baltic, English Channel, and  
> the North Sea teemed with aquatic life, but the catch couldn't  
> travel. Only a few kilometers inland, a fresh catch would being to  
> smell, leaving the seller with no option but to throw it away. So  
> sea fish had inseperable partners p drying racks, salt and the  
> smokehouse.
> Breakfast kippers are fat herrings, salted and smoked lightly to  
> preserve their delicate flavor and texture. There's a world of  
> difference between the salting and smoking that create fine food and  
> the heavy salting that preserves it, as in medieval times, when  
> shelf life was the primary consideration and people ate fish  
> intensively at certain times of the year. By the twelth century, the  
> devout who dined on fish during Lent almost invariably consumed a  
> dried, salted or smoked catch."
> Stefan
> --------
> THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
>   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
> **** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org  
> ****
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