Despite going into self imposed exile in the South of France, I’ve still been hearing loads about the horse meat scandal. Food snobs are up on their high Aberdeen Angus bulls crowing that “it’s what you get for buying food that isn’t organic and locally sourced, fnar fnar!” seemingly forgetting that some people are actually living below the poverty line and don’t have heaps of cash to throw away on quality food, as much as they’d probably like to.
Then I thought “hey, I’m in France! Don’t they eat horse here anyway?”
I decided to bite the (sea)biscuit, and try horse meat for myself. Unfortunately our local Super U doesn’t sell it, so I had to wait for a chance to go into Tarbes and buy some pure, unadulterated cheval from the bigger supermarche, E.Leclerc.
The first thing that struck me about the horse meat was that it was cheap. For €1.31 we got two slices of rump steak, perfect for frying. A full on fillet was only €10.
The second thing that struck me was that the meat was imported from Argentina. The French don’t really like importing things, so that’s a bit weird. Maybe it’s because French supermarkets are as bad as their UK counterparts.
Gosh, I’m evil. Supporting a supermarket, having a huge carbon footprint, and eating Shergar. They should put me behind bars before I take out a rainforest or something!
I decided to eat it cooked rare on a baguette, with a dash of mustard, some tomatoes, fried onions, and a couple of slices of fried chorizo. In my hurry to scoff it, and due to the pish lighting in my house, I didn’t get a picture.
So what did it taste like?
- It had a nicer flavour than the low quality supermarket beef you can buy in Scotland (don’t pretend you’ve never slummed it at the end of the month!). Low quality beef has an offensive, strong and fatty flavour and you can almost taste the growth hormones, whereas…
- It was downright mild. It wasn’t offensive at all, it was just meat. It had a slight sweetness to it that was almost imperceptible.
- It was lean. It reminded me a bit of ostrich.
- It was a little chewy: but that might have been because it was a tough cut and I cooked it muy rare.
- The only thing that put me off was the emotional realisation that it’s horse (of course, of course). Thinking about the horse that I refused to spank on the bum when I went horse riding made me feel sad eating it.
Would I eat it again? Maybe. I’d probably go to an artisan butcher next time though.
At the end of the day, it was wrong for Tesco and Aldi and Lidl and Findus to lie to their customers about what they were putting into their food. Personally I’m more concerned about the addition of pork; sucks to be Muslim.
We need to think about this sensibly. Although horses are companion animals and it’s a bit taboo to snack on them, I think that British supermarkets should consider stocking it properly so that their customers can try it if they want to; and so that lower income households have a better option for Sunday dinner.
Horse meat is low in fat. It’s low in cholesterol. It tastes a million times better than beef sold in the same price bracket. So what’s the problem? Should the only option for our poor be “go vegetarian”?
Think on it.