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Like most people, when I read about the Queen’s favourite breakfast food I was shocked.
But I was even more shocked when the responsibility of giving it a go fell on me. Fish for breakfast? No thanks.
That’s right; a favourite of the Queen’s has long-been a plate of kippers.
An extract from the book ‘Dinner at Buckingham Palace’ by the Queen’s former servant, Charles Oliver, revealed her and sister Princess Margaret loved kippers so much they learned to cook the dish themselves.
She has reportedly “been partial to kippers since the war years” and that when she and Princess Margaret were exploring around different areas of Windsor Castle, they came across a “compelling aroma”- leading them to discovering kippers.
So, I guess if they’re good enough for Her Majesty, they must be good enough for me.
Nipping to Sainsbury’s, I picked up a slimy portion for two for just £1.40- which is a bargain for something so royally loved. Although I imagine the queen’s choice is a little pricier.
As I walked home in the cold, an increasing feeling of dread overcame me as I stared into the wet packet in my hand: I was actually about to eat this fish for breakfast.
I normally have a nice little warming bowl of porridge to start the day, which is actually reported as another favourite of the Queen’s.
Maybe Queen Elizabeth II and I aren’t too different after all.
The packet’s instructions told me to make little slits along the top. Doing so released a reeking fishy smell, transporting me to Saturday morning’s holding my breath as I pass the fishmonger’s en route to a cafe.
Now holding my nose in my own home, I whipped the stinky packet into the microwave.
How the Queen regularly puts herself through getting a whiff of this I’ll never understand.
The former servant wrote: “Kippers, in a number of uncomplicated variations, have remained a favourite with the Queen ever since – for breakfast, as a savoury or a late-night supper.”
So I can only hope she would approve of this easy microwave-in-the-bag method.
As I watched the plate turn ominously under the glowing light, an increasingly-strong smell of fish hummed throughout the kitchen, slowly sweeping across my entire flat.
I can’t say the smell is exactly appreciated at this time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if any nosy neighbours come over to complain.
Of course, when I opened the cooked packet after five minutes, the smell leaked out even more as I leapt to the window hoping for some sweet fresh London air to banish it.
The orange fillets steamed, bubbling in the butter that soaked the plate.
They were stuck together and squashed into a lump of stinky fish.
Writhing in worry, I peeled off a portion and served up a sad plate of kippers.
As my knife met the fillet, shards of pale fish fell apart instantly. I realised the fillet is packed with tiny hair strand-fine bones, which I was reassured is OK.
For several moments, a piece of kipper was held up to my face as I eyed it up; does the Queen seriously enjoy eating this all the time?
Yet I braved a bite and somehow, surprisingly, it was… fine.
They taste far, far, milder than the fishy pungent smell. The dry flakes of fish are instead rather sweet and smoky.
Plain, but in a pleasant way.
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I have to say: I’m amazed. I genuinely cannot believe it, but I’m admitting to enjoying the bland taste.
However, I didn’t at all like the mass amount of bones. They proved a real obstacle to eating a full portion of kippers.
I actually had a little aftertaste of blood after one caught my gum on the way down. But perhaps I was overthinking eating them.
Although I would typically expect the Queen to enjoy the ‘finer things in life’, I can image kippers to perhaps be an easy, reliable meal of simple satisfaction.
While I wouldn’t turn them down if they were offered as a really quick one-off meal, I definitely wouldn’t eat them for breakfast again.
The rest of my day will now consist of shivering under a blanket as I open every window possibly to rid myself of this “compelling aroma”.
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