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Bloaters
Fish
Norfolk

or Yarmouth Bloaters, Bloat Herring

Whole herring, soaked in brine before being very lightly smoked. Known by this name since the 1830's (OED)
"How many ways can you offer a herring? This old formula - immortalised by Dickens* - involves smoking an ungutted herring. Now that is a radical course of action! It’s the only fish bigger than a whitebait I can think of where the innards are served up with the enclosing flesh. To this, they impart a wonderful gamey flavour - "... a mild yet piquant delicacy’ said fish guru, Jane Grigson. (From thefishsociety.co.uk)


Bloaters
Image: http://www.thefishsociety.co.uk


Pepys diary has, "5th. At night Sir W. Pen and I alone to the Dolphin, and there eat some bloat-herrings and drank good sack."

"Why, you stink like so many bloat-herrings newly taken out of the chimney," Ben Jonson, 'Masque of Augurs.'

George Dodd's 'The Food of London' (1856) relates that; "The Yarmouth arithmetic is very strange, in the numbering of fish: 4 herrings make a 'warp'; 33 warps, or 132 herrings, make a 'hundred'; and 100 hundreds, or 13,200, make a 'last.'"

There is also a freshwater fish (Coregonus hoyi) of the North American Great Lakes called a bloater.

George Orwell's 'The Road to Wigan Pier' has it that "You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market-gardeners. The Emperor Charles V is said to have erected a statue to the inventor of bloaters, but that is the only case I can think of at the moment."



Postcard illustrating Yarmouth's famous bloaters
Origin: Unknown, c1922?




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