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The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
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is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 09.30.05
Montreal

GREG DUNCAN

Seagulls, a new taste treat, eh?

Readers should be concerned with a very important environmental issue. On a global scale, the health of seagulls is at stake. So is ours, if I have this right. Displaced gull populations have abandoned their traditional seaside habitats in favor of urban landscapes and this is of major concern.

No longer satisfied with traditional marine offerings that float onto shore, seagull youth of today seek faster and easier sustenance. Why bother with endless searches for mussels and clams and wee tidbits of scrappy weed when all you have to do is forage for a newfound delight?

Much screeching and squawking can be heard in parking lots across the land as seagulls flock to McDonalds outlets everywhere. They are not driving through, mind you; they're waiting for handouts and are notorious for their demanding nature. They are in search of French fries after all and one must accommodate or be killed with annoying sounds of protest.

They use very crafty navigational skills to locate Macdonald parking lots. Having internal GPS systems helps somewhat, as does genetic memory. I mean, what self-respecting seagull would not have learned from its ancestors about the great glory found at the arches? Huge yellow beacons call seagulls to communion in every country and denomination is not a factor, no sir. You simply have to be of the dominant white- headed species to prosper in the land of milkshakes and fries.

Moses himself could have not gathered a flock of followers so easily to move to a new land. It's a long way inland but, hey, the trip is well worth it. This migration is a testament to the addictive properties found at the altar of Big Mac.

Here is the issue, dear reader:

We have created a world whereby our fast-food waste helps the proliferation of a species that is of little nutritional value. Indeed, there was a time when a good feast of seagull could be had with no worries.

In current times, you must worry that paté de mouette (seagull spread) is laden with trans fats and bad cholesterol and even our ears are hurting.

Expensive car paint finishes are dulled by a quantity of earthbound poops previously unknown and yet, we have found little use for what is a potential delicacy.

Today's nutrition being what it is I might suggest a conversion of sorts to alleviate world hunger. You have heard of paté de fois gras, the production of which is a tedious exercise in force-feeding of ducks and geese?

Creating fat livers for the table has always been a fine craft of the culinary French and perhaps the time is right to offer up some continental competition from New France. There is no shortage of fat livers here and heck; we don't have to force-feed our seagulls at all. They are loading up on the grease and fat all by themselves.

I suspect that immigrant seagulls from Calais reside here and that there are second and third generations among us. This fact makes for good ancestral quality with little deviation from the original gene pool and culminates in superior flavor.

The next time you head on over for a quarter- pounder, remember this. Feeding concrete gulls just could be an opportunity for a new franchise in itself.

After all, you are what you eat right?

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