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A sea bird of the laridae family; gulls used to be popular food right up through medieval times, and remained so in Northern Scotland until the end of the 18th century.
They were netted fattened and highly esteemed. In 1590 they cost the huge sum of 5 shillings each when bought for the Lords of the Star Chamber, at a time when beef cost 20 pence a stone.
The eggs are much priced, but a special license is needed to obtain them; and the gathering season is very limited.
Only the eggs of the common 'Black-headed gull' are now available, during the brief early summer season, mostly from colonies near the Scottish Borders and the Solent. They taste rather like hens' eggs, and are usually eaten hard-boiled and slightly chilled - in the style of quail's eggs - with a sprinkling of celery salt. They're only available from licensed game dealers.
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