When I was a child my Grandad used to take me to get our kippers from the stone smokery near the small harbour beach at Craster. Since then, there have never been nicer kippers, to my mind.
I remember it as a cold, grey place; windswept and damp. I’ve been back many times since, but it always seems slightly sad. Perhaps the smell of the smoke takes me back to those days, arriving after a long journey in the car in the rain.
I’ve mentioned the kitchen at my Grandparent’s house before. And just as the smell of freshly made coffee takes me back to my great Aunt’s kitchen in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris, the smell of kippers cooking, with just a touch of butter takes me back to Darras Hall, Ponteland thirty years or so ago.
I do mine in the microwave these days. God knows what my Grandad would make of that, he lightly grilled them . Either way, the smell remains for a while, so learn to love it or cook with the windows wide open, burn some candles and warn the neighbours.
I’m so pleased to have found the great L. Robson of Craster does mail order. It’s not the same as putting your wellies on and wading on the muddy beach with your family, but it’s a canny thing to receive in the post.