Friday, March 8

A Horse of a Different Color


The lastest craze driven by the media to make us all crazy is the “scandal” of - gasp! Horrors of horrors! - finding horsemeat in pretty much every meat and meat-related item in and around Europe.  You would think they found, oh, I don’t know lead in baby and pet food from China.  I am a horse aficionado, I (try, at least to) ride them, and on my palette of palatable plates, horse meat is right up there alongside cow tongue, tripe and on most occasions, Thumper (except when hiking in the Alps and served with polenta).  So, the question on everyone's lips, if not in their mouths is, “Where’s the beef?!” 

I thought the media-driven fear fomenting the public outcry was sort of strange in a place (and by this I mean all of Europe, east, west, and central) that regularly offers up horse meat on menus and in the meat aisle of your local grocers.  I am assuming that people were upset to learn about horses in their stew for a number of reasons, foremost being the labeling.  I imagine it’s because many people, like me, just don’t fancy equine meat as something they feel like sending into their digestive tracts unwittingly and on a daily basis.  If they are going to consume it, they want to know upfront that it is the side of a nice stallion they were sinking their teeth into.  Like Martini&Rossi, people who regularly nosh on Nellie have to ask for it by name, starting with Whoa!
The greater scandal as I see it has everything to do with the food processors, who seem - if you are to trust the reporters - to assume the Lipizzan stance: frozen in mid-prance and caught totally by surprise.
As cute & innocent as it looks, I don’t buy it for a minute.  A collective - “Whoops! How could such a thing have happened?”  As if their in-house butcher can’t tell the difference between a cow carcass and a horse one when they offload them at the factory.  Not to mention that State officials routinely run tests on all manner of food products -- We are lead to believe that there was a sudden overrun of horses so processors decided to cull the stocks and use them for meat filler?  In the last week or so?  I don’t think so.  Like a pedophile or philanderer, if they’ve been caught this once generally means they’ve been at it for a whole heckuva lot longer.

In the very least, if this stinky spate of horseshit makes for better labeling, then great.  I, for one, only hope that people stop their steeple-chase of purchasing pre-fab sauces, meatballs, ragù and other processed products that they just don’t need in their kitchens.  Unless, of course, they need to feed an army of people as hungry as horses.  

*many live links in text above

2 comments:

Francesca Maggi said...

Here's an update posted by Food, Inc. re: American palates

Would you eat horse meat? A new poll offers some answers and the responses are surprising, to say the least: http://bit.ly/YEXJsQ

Leah said...

My husband gave me horse meat once. He didn't tell me what it was just said try it. I like horses and although the meat was tasty I would't make a habit of eating it.
I think if I learned that cat meat was being added to products and not labelled I would be mortified because I love cats.
But I like what you say in the end of your post. Best not to buy processed food! It is much healthier to make things from scratch that way you know what went it it.
Great post!