Just Say Neigh
(To Horse d'Oeuvres)
Could horse catch on? It is half the price of beef and undeniably delicious. I went to a steak tasting at Edinburgh's L'Escargot Bleu bistro at the height of the scandal. Chef and patron Fred Berkmillar had packed in 12 Scottish foodies, cooks and meat suppliers and gave us rump steaks to try. One was the best 30-day-aged Orkney beef, the other Comtois horse, farmed in the Dordogne. ...
You could have confused the horse with beef, but its steak --- juicy, tender, just slightly gamey --- won the fry-off by 12 votes to none. And we were all the better for it: horse has lots of iron, little fat and lots of omega-3. It is healthier than beef, so long as you're not eating an old steeplechaser laced with phenylbutazone. It is not true, by the way, that "bute" is one of those horse painkillers with recreational possibilities.--- Alex Renton
24 February 2013I stand ready to try horsemeat, if I only knew where to find it. Our local IKEA is is too far away, and in any case they swear that their authentic Swedish meatballs contain only pure meatball DNA. I could go for a horseburger with sautëed mushrooms, bacon and cheese, although perhaps the latter ingredients would defeat the healthful effects of the omega-3, whatever that is. I could also use all that extra iron, being a touch anemic these days.
When we lived in France, there was a boucherie nearby with a big, gilded horse's head above the door, perhaps indicating the category of viande the shop specialized in. We never got around to trying out steak de cheval. Come to think of it, we never got around to trying out cuisse de grenouille either, let alone oursin de mer. We did buy lapin in the street market fairly often. I was charmed by the way the street stall rabbits were hung skinned except for their forepaws, on which the skin and fur were left intact; we were told that this custom was meant to prove that the carcasses were indeed bunnywabbits and not cats. On the other hand, could we have distinguished our favorite rabbit dish, lapin aux olives, from chat aux olives?
Dog? Perish the thought. My old and hairy companion Beauregard --- named in memory of Pogo's pal in my favorite comic strip of the 1950s --- could never permit me to even think of Rover Fricassee or Old Dog Blue Stew, although they say that in the past it has become the favored dish during extended sieges, along with rat flambé. Cat?
It sets me to wondering why the Romanian suppliers haven't mixed in a little cat fat in the ground meat they sell all over Europe? There must be a plentiful supply of homeless cats in Bucharest, just waiting to be enticed into the workshop preparatory to shipment to L'Escargot Bleu bistro in Edinburgh. Likewise, the ruins of the ancient Coliseum and Pantheon in Rome are supposed to be crowded with feral felines, providing a great potential resource for an enterprising meat wholesaler.
I'll bet there has been no scandal of this sort yet only because nobody has bothered to test for pussycat DNA in packages of prepared Boeuf Bourguignonne or Poulet Provençal. It is a foregone conclusion that a kittygate scandal will develop next. And once it does, I suppose the gourmands of Britain will have a field day enjoying such dishes as "Fishless Catfish Caribbean Style," "Pookie Schnitzel with Red Wine and Mushrooms," "Mittens Fricassee" and, in homage to Dr. Johnson's favorite feline, "Hodge-Podge."--- Dr. Phage