Flaming Flamingo

Flamingo - Orbetello - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

At the Lido di Tarquinia there are Flamingoes. They are such surreal birds:

Flamingo - Orbetello - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Their reflections don’t look any better.

This being Italy, we are surrounded by the incredible past of an alternative culture; that of Ancient Rome. Ancient Romans are famous in my mind for hedonism. I always imagined Emperors having orgies and eating larks’ tongues in aspic, although that may be something to do with bad 1970s TV and the title of a King Crimson album.

Flamingoes have an extreme and highly adapted tongue for feeding underwater. Roman emperors thought it a delicacy. If you’d like to know exactly what braised Flamingo tasted like in a classic 5th Century Roman recipe then please do check out www.passtheflamingo.com  Roman poets, being sensitive souls, complained about the slaughter of Flamingoes for their tongues in the way only poets can. No, not with extreme violence, but with poetry.

One poet, Martial, wrote:

My red wing gives me my name, but epicures regard my tongue as tasty.
But what if my tongue could sing?

Flamingo - Orbetello - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

If Flamingoes could sing I’m sure they would say: “Please don’t braise me.”

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