Friday, 18 January 2013
"I could eat a scabby horse..."
So, exactly what's all this fuss about horse meat, anyway?
Now my regular reader reader will know that I have been known to get around about and, over the years, I have eaten some interesting things. I have one golden rule : eat it, decide of you like it, then ask what it is.
In South Africa I have eaten antelope, buffalo, kudu, and ostrich. I have eaten alligator in Africa and Kangaroo in Oz. I've tried squid (which I find too chewy), grasshopper (which is too crunchy) and escargot (which I though tasted of sod all!)
On a boat off North Cape, I was tucking into a delicious casserole after a morning of freezing my arse of in a rubber boat. Most of my fellow guests at the table were also enjoying same. "The reindeer's very tasty, isn't it?" I remarked in a sort of Shirley Valentine moment - whereupon several of my fellow guests decided I wasn't joking and pushed it away in disgust.
I had a similar reaction in the Maldives when a bunch of Italians declined the rather well cooked goat which had been buried in the sand for 24 hours and literally fell apart at the touch of a fork. Delicious!
The point is that there is nothing wrong with horse meat. After all we eat venison from a deer, pork from a pig, lamb from a sheep and beef from a cow - so what's the big deal? The picture above is, incidentally, of a butcher in France who specialises in the stuff.
The problem is twofold as I see it. Firstly, we're not used to eating a horse. It's cultural. It's silly, really.
But secondly, and more importantly, we are being flogged something that's not as it is represented. The problem is not that Tesco had 29% horse meat in its burgers. The problem is that it was labelled as 100% beef when it wasn't.
Interestingly - whilst we are dealing in the realms of terminological exactitude - can I just point out that '100% beef' is a bit like 'stainless steel'. The latter does not mean free of stains, it just means it stains less. As regards the beef, it doesn't necessarily mean there's nothing but beef in it, it means they use 100% of the cow. This is something which, I suspect, I would find less palatable than a nice horse meat steak.
For the record, I would point out that a horse steak is actually rather tasty. You should try it - or am I flogging a dead horse?