to be done up like a kipper – to be tricked; exploited; taken advantage of.
A kipper is a herring, but a herring that has been split open, had its guts taken out, laid flat, salted and then cured in a cold smokehouse. That is a herring which is not fighting back. And if YOU are done up like a kipper, it means someone has put you in a similar position. You have been tricked or exploited – put in a situation that you didn’t expect and with no getting out of it.
I once knew someone who was very vain. She was so vain she would spend an arm and a leg on any cosmetics that claimed they could maximise her beauty. And once, while travelling abroad, she met a man in the street and paid him about £500 for a small pot of magical face cream which he insisted would transform her into someone at least 10 years younger, in just three weeks. She said he’d showed her proof, with photos and everything. But after one week, the Magical Face Cream began to change colour, and spots of green started to appear, just like you get on…say…cream cheese. Which was odd, because it smelt like cream cheese too, and when I stuck my finger in it and actually tasted it (while she screamed “THAT WAS £500 AND YOU’RE EATING IT?”)…it tasted like …yep, cream cheese. So yes, she had paid £500 for a small pot of cream cheese and had been rubbing it around her eyes every night, anxiously waiting for youth. Done up like a kipper, she was. Although perhaps I should have started this story like this: I once knew someone who was very vain AND very stupid…
Kippers were posh breakfast food for the Victorians and Edwardians, but for some reason, in the 1970s people suddenly said they were smelly and reminded them of war-time, and stopped eating them. Sales are on the up again now, and they remain a breakfast item, but perhaps only a weekend one.
Most people grill them or fry them in butter, and then put them on scrambled eggs. Nicer Kate says you should open the doors and windows whilst you cook and eat them because the smell can linger, for days. However, if the smell bothers you, and you get cold, my friend Lucy says to leave a bowl of vinegar out in the kitchen. It might work, but I’ve never tried it, mostly because I like the smell of kippers….
(c) Kayte & Nicer Kate 2017. Authors assert moral rights