Who eats ducks?
We eat chickens, ducks and geese, but how come swans evade our dinner plates?
L.J. Lev, Yellowknife, Canada
- Because they belong to the monarch. Get caught with a roast swan in your oven and the penalty is no doubt of a medieval nature.
Mark Power, Dublin Ireland
- Because all Swans in this country are the property of the crown and you would require a special licence to kill one.
Mike, Brighton UK
- Because they have been protected for so long, that eating them has gone out of favour. Like deer, they were once hunted to near extinction. To preserve them they were made - with a few exceptions - property of the crown.
Peter Brooke, Newmachar UK
- Because all swams in England belong to the Queen so catching one would constitute theft. In Ireland the daughters of Lir were turned into swans so you would wish to avoid eating these beautiful maidens.
Natasha, Oxfordshire UK
- Swans used to be eaten by the aristocracy up to Tudor/Elizabethan ages. They ceased to be a popular dish when all swans in England were declared the property of the monarch, so catching one to eat could result in a short (or not so short) stay in the tower. Two livery companies have been granted a special dispensation to own swans, hence the annual 'swan-upping' sessions. During these, representatives of the two companies are allowed one day to catch swans and mark them with either one or two notches on their beaks. Any unmarked birds remain the property of the monarch.
Susie Burlace, London
- The eating of swans is a royal perogative and up until relatively recently killing one of them was a treasonable offence. The queen has an official Keeper of the Queens swans (constable or something). For a good recipe, get hold of the hampton court palace royal tudor kitchens cook book. (I reccomend the roast lemon salad.)
Ben Davies, London
- One of the reasons that swans are not eaten is probably to do with the fact that swans are soverign property and therefore may well fall under the guise of treason or another archaeic law still punishable by death.
Tim, Teddington UK
- My father once ate swan - it had flown into a power line and been picked up by a friend of his who was a chef in a pub. He said it was inedibly tough and greasy despite having been cooked by an expert. Perhaps you would need to hang it so long to make it chewable that it would be too rotten to eat.
Chris Young, Sheffield UK
- In England, you cannot eat swan for two reasons: they are protected by the Queen and they may contain lead.
Carol Buckley, La Jolla USA
- It's not strictly true that the Queen owns all swans in Britain. The Swan Upping ceremony which takes place every July takes a head-count of all the mute swans on the Thames and marks them for ownership either by the Crown or by the Vintners' and Dyers' Livery Companies, which were granted their rights of ownership by the Crown in the fifteenth century. Technically, the Crown owns all unmarked mute swans in open water, and the Queen only exercises her ownership rights on some stretches of the Thames and its tributaries. Other varieties of swan (Bewick's, Whooper etc.) aren't included in this. My theory as to why we don't eat swans is because they're too difficult to domesticate and the wild ones are too rare to kill.
Leo Hickey, Barking UK
- If you are invited to a feast at St John's College Cambridge you may be served swan by the same royal favour that allows the choristers to wear scarlet.
Charlie Hartill, London UK
- The penalty for taking a swan used to be seven years transportation! In mid July, on the River Thames, the 900 year old ceremony of 'Swan Upping' takes place. In earlier times, this was to mark ownership of the swans, which was split between the Crown, and the association of Dyers and the association of Vintners. The swans would have their beaks nicked, I forget what denoted what, but the...