“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding”

One of my relatives sends me the National Geographic magazine. It takes a while to reach me – forwarded through Royal Mail to an expat-mail company to Bermuda mail sorting office at the airport, takes a rest there before passing through customs where it is awarded an extra stamp telling me that no duty is due, then, with any luck, will be delivered by a postman – if not lucky I have to collect it at the local post office, which isn’t open on Saturdays by the way! Anyhow, thats why I am only just looking at the November issue. Why am I telling you this?

Because on page 134, Bermuda is highlighted on a world map, and, given its size of 21 square miles, that means whatever the map is depicting, something on Bermuda is significant.

Not to scale?

Not to scale?

There are hundreds of amazing things about Bermuda the rest of the world ought to know but the article is not about any of them – it’s about MEAT.

The meat consumption on Bermuda is around 573 calories per person per day.

To add perspective:

meat calories per capita per day
US

424

UK

402

S. America

366

Caribbean

208

The meat products included are the expected beef,pork, lamb, poultry, rabbit and game but also some we don’t eat on Bermuda such as horse, ass, mule, camel and aquatic mammals. The article talks about the appetite for meat falling in developed countries due to health awareness, cholesterol etc, and economic downturn. It seems that neither of those have impacted Bermuda’s consumption of meat.

Bermuda boasts a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of US$75,000.  By this measure, it is one of the world’s richest countries. On island consumer tastes have moved to fresh rather than the tinned or processed which dominated the import markets in late 20th century, with a current surge in demand for organic products. Obviously nearly all meat is imported, I have seen some cows and pigs on the island but in small numbers, probably not destined for the table.

Given that everything is expensive in Bermuda one might expect the cost of meat to be prohibitive, but actually compared with UK the relative cost of meat is lower. A Sirloin steak will cost around $6 per pound, not much different in UK. It seems to me that the quality of the meat is better as well – steaks here are delicious, even with my cooking.

Apparently our beef comes from the American plains, pork from Virginia and chicken from Arizona. British lamb and Danish bacon makes us feel more at home!

So is it just the relative costs and availability that keep meat as the predominant protein in the Bermudian diet? It’s an island surrounded by deep water with delicious fish – surely dietary protein would be fish-based? There are many restaurants offering a wonderful seafood menu and during the summer fresh fish is sold by the roadside. But if the statistics are to be believed Bermudians prefer meat!

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