2 JUNE 1961, Page 36

Consuming Interest


By LESLIE ADRIAN Fillets come in three guises. Frozen (needing at least two hours to thaw out), defrosted (saltier and more perishable, but ready for use), and sealed (smell and all) with a pat of butter into a waterproof bag (also quick-frozen). I have found all processed kippers to be slightly saltier than those bought fresh from the fishmonger's slab, but only the defrosted fillets actually need to be steeped in water to remove the salt.

In the last few weeks I have tried quick-frozen kippers by Ross, Birds Eye and Carnation (the milk people). All three come in 8 oz. packs and all cost 2s. 2d. each (coincidence or price ring?). My Oscar goes to Ross for their oak-smoked fish, small, plump and mild. Between the other two makes I found little to choose, except that the Carnation kippers seemed rather skinny.

Incidentally, the almost identical flavour of the kippers in the Birds Eye packet (filleted and frozen) and the so-called fresh kippers on the Mac Fisheries slab (whole and defrosted) is not just a coincidence. Mac Fisheries and Birds Eye are Unilever brothers beneath the skin and un- doubtedly they go fishing and freezing together.

Kipper in a bag is a winner with the eat-live- and-sleep-in-one-room brigade, and they are made to measure for anyone who likes kippers to eat—but not to smell; for the frantically busy or the frankly lazy. The bag goes into boiling water and you don't even have to wait for the fish to defreeze. No smell, no debris and no kippery pan to clean. One person could sup (or Iwo breakfast) on the Is. 7d. packets put up by Eskimo or Sutton's. My only complaint about envelope kippers is the impermanence of the paint on the packet. One has to scour the sauce- pan in order to remove stray bits of dye.

Frozen kippers are for people in a hurry, not for the kipper connoisseur, for whom the heresy of freezing a kipper1. is only slightly less heinous than the heresy of dyeing it.

The Isle of Man is the only place in the British Isles where it is against the law to colour kippers artificially. Manx kippers, small and sherry- coloured, are processed simply with salt and smoke. In season from July to October, they are almost unobtainable in southern England. How- ever, Selfridges stock them, and for the most charming of old-fashioned reasons: the chair- man likes his kippers undyed. Unfortunately most of their customers are less discriminating. Painted kippers from Scotland (and elsewhere) are preferred to the pale smoked herring from the Isle of Man.

Kippers can be sent direct from Douglas (write to G. Devereau and Sons, 78 Strand Street), but six pairs is usually a minimum order. One word of warning here. Manx Kippers must not be con- fused with the inferior Isle of Man Kippers.

The Manx season is short, but for most of the )rear Londoners can buy large undyed herrings, kippered on the premises, at Hamburgers (1 Brewer Street, WI : GERrard 7119). As their supplies are erratic, it is wise to ring before making a special journey to Soho. Delicious small kippers, lightly dyed and oak-smoked, are sold by Jackson of Piccadilly (and Wigmore Street) for only 8d. a pair—a wonderfully cheap feast.

War has broken out in the credit card business. From now onwards, in any of 1,500 hotels and rettaurants around the country, you may find yourself being invited to apply for a BHR credit card so that you may simply show the card and sign the bill. BHR is a new company and is a reply on behalf of the hotel and restaurant in- dustry to the two main existing credit card com- panies, CCF and Finders, which are paid a com- mission of 4 per cent. to 7 per cent, by any establishment giving credit on their cards. BHR charges no commission and makes it very clear that any establishment which accepts BHR cards must not accept any other company's cards.

As far as you and I are concerned, this is just another credit card allowing us to eat and sleep now and pay later. BHR is trying to make sure that hotel keepers and restaurant owners don't have to pay a commission to companies run by what it calls 'outside finance.' If any commission has to be paid on credit cards, the industry wants the public to pay it. If you join BHR you will be doing just that: the annual subscription is four guineas—more than the subscription to either CCF or Finders.

I suggest you pay cash. That way, you might even get a discount.

My apologies: things have changed at the Savoy Turkish Baths in Jermyn Street. The nightly rate is 21s., not I5s, and they expect you to leave at about nine the next day. Good value, even at that.