Culinary Discoveries in the Bermudas where I live temporarily

I’ve known I was different since I first learned to fly. 

I never felt different—in fact I’ve tried most of my life to uphold the ideals of our august species— but it became clear to me, very early on, that my interests are not shared by many, if any at all. Over the years I have learned to hide my peculiarities for the sake of politesse—all except one. 

“I’ve known I was different since I first learned to fly.”

I cannot hide my love for good cuisine.

Call me fancy. Call me pretentious. Call me a traitor to the species. I don’t care. I like food. Good food. New food. Food that hasn’t been snatched from some other bird, or scavenged from the carcass of a dead and rotting white tailed deer. Discovering a new texture or taste that I never knew existed fills me with the kind of thrilling determination that makes an American dress up in fur hide and storm the Capitol.

It is baffling to my kind, every single one of them, and every time I made a new acquaintance with a bald eagle that did not share in my life’s greatest passion, the more I realized that I am alone.

Benjamin Franklin observed the failures in our species in a letter to his daughter in 1784.

For my own part I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of the fishing hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. 

With all this injustice, he is never in good case, but like those among men who live by sharping and robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: the little king bird not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. 

He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America, who have driven all the king birds from our country, though exactly fit for that order of knights which the French call Chevaliers dIndustrie. I am on this account not displeased that the figure is not known as a bald eagle, but looks more like a turkey.

I found it hard to disagree with him, truth be told. And as difficult as it was, I came to a decision. After considerable thought, I have bid the motherland adieu. If I am to be alone, then I want to see what the world has to offer. 

“Call me fancy. Call me pretentious. Call me a traitor to the species. I cannot hide my love for good cuisine.”

Thus far, my journey has not disappointed. Bermuda has been a veritable culinary awakening.

I’d prepared myself for some honest, hard-work for this first excursion; vowing to find my meals as a bird of my stature should—soaring high above the clear, turquoise waters, valiant and regal, before dive-bombing down and snatching my prey in a flash of claws and shimmering sea-foam. Sadly, the fish here don’t often venture close enough to the surface, but that disappointment was brief, for I soon discovered a colony of petite, nesting seabirds, and their fledgling chicks.

As an early-morning amuse-gueule, there is perhaps no delicacy more enthralling than the juvenile white-tailed tropic bird. And I have shamelessly gorged myself. Over the last nine months, my penchant for fresh longtail chick in the morning has become almost ceremonious. 

My day begins with a leisurely glide high among the clouds, surfing the warm Gulf winds as I keep an eye on the longtail colonies scattered carelessly throughout the cliffs that adorn this charming isle. Such pelagic birds have never worried about threats from above—the safety of a cliffside nest has never been in question—and so naturally the job of nourishing their young, singular chick, is a combined effort—a most unfortunate wrinkle in their evolution now that I am here. My mornings begin when the parents abandon their nests each morning, leaving me with an embarrassment of riches. One is tempted to call it a buffet, but the nature of this meal feels far more exotic. It is a salatim of fluffy little side salads that delight with each revisit.

While the meat is, of course, as tender as you’d want, the insides provide delightful complexities. Their twice-digested diet of fish leaves you with a wonderfully rich and creamy finish, like a Lyonnais quenelles from La Gratin in downtown Manhattan.