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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/112

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

in the front is an inscription stating that "only the best beef-dripping is used in this establishment." This means a repudiation of oil. Such oil as has been supplied for fish-frying may well be repudiated.

On my first visit to arctic Norway I arrived before the garnering and exportation of the spring cod harvest was completed. The packet stopped at a score or so of stations on the Lofodens and the mainland. Foggy weather was no impediment, as an experienced pilot free from catarrh could steer direct to the harbor by "following his nose." Huge caldrons stood by the shore in which were stewing the last batches of the livers of cod-fish caught a month before and exposed in the mean time to the continuous arctic sunshine. Their condition must be imagined, as I abstain from description of details. The business then proceeding was the extraction of the oil from these livers. It is, of course, "cod-liver oil," but is known commercially as "fish-oil," or "cod-oil." That which is sold by our druggists as cod-liver oil is described in Norway as "medicine-oil," and though prepared from the same raw material, is extracted in a different manner. Only fresh livers are used for this, and the best quality, the "cold-drawn" oil, is obtained by pressing the livers without stewing. Those who are unfortunately familiar with this carefully prepared, highly refined product, know that the fishy flavor clings to it so pertinaciously that all attempts to completely remove it without decomposing the oil have failed. This being the case, it is easily understood that the fish-oil stewed so crudely out of the putrid or semi-putrid livers must be nauseous indeed. I am told that it has nevertheless been used by some of the fish-fryers, and I know that refuse "Gallipoli" (olive-oil of the worst quality) is sold for this purpose. The oil obtained in the course of salting sardines, herrings, etc., has also been used.

Such being the case, it is not surprising that the use of oil for frying should, like the oil itself, be in bad odor.

I dwell upon this because we are probably on what, if a fine writer, I should call the "eve of a great revolution" in respect to frying media.

Two new materials, pure, tasteless, and so cheap as to be capable of pushing pig-fat (lard) out of the market, have recently been introduced. These are cotton-seed oil and poppy-seed oil. The first has been for some time in the market offered for sale under various fictitious names, which I will not reveal, as I refuse to become a medium for the advertisement of anything—however good in itself—that is sold under false pretenses. If the lamp of Knowledge, more fortunate than that of Diogenes, should light upon some honest men who will retail cotton-seed oil as cotton-seed oil, I shall gladly (with the editor's permission) do a little straightforward touting for them, as they will be public benefactors, greatly aiding the present movement for the extension of the use of fish-food.

As every bale of cotton yields half a ton of seed, and every ton of