Friday, December 9, 2011

Mmm Mustang Sally

Victor. (Born Siberia circa 1908. Died Antarctica, Dec 9, 1911.) 
Trusted servant and companion, faithful steed. He was delicious. 

How come you can order a steak and enjoy it thoroughly, perhaps with a nice glass of wine, some fries and a salad — but only if it has been sliced from a cow? Maybe you’re a bit more adventurous and stretch your red meat possibilities to venison if you can find it. Perhaps you have a gun and a license and can shoot it yourself. But what about the OTHER red meat — horse?

There’s plenty of it to go around, and it’s very good for you. You can prepare it just as you would any other steak. It’s delicious. But but but, you say, you can’t eat a horse — horses are our friends, it’s not civilized.

Lots of civilized people eat horsemeat, all over the world. The Belgians and Japanese, for example. You might not be able to find horsemeat at the butcher or in the supermarket in America, because it’s not legal for sale. This does not mean, however, it’s not illegal to slaughter horses for food. It’s big business. There are large horse farms and horse abattoirs in the US, processing millions of tons of horsemeat every year, most of which is exported to countries where it is legal to eat.

What can you do if you want to eat horse? Develop a cozy relationship with your local pet store owner. Why? Because some of that horsemeat is sold to pet stores for feeding to pets. Maybe they’ll sell some to you. For cash. After hours. Bring a cooler.

Or you could take a day trip to Canada and order some from a bistro there.

The Kazakhs have always eaten horsemeat, and have developed a cuisine that makes use of very part of the animal. They rather throw the shade on the Western argument that one can't eat an animal you consider a "companion." 

Bowers with Victor, a couple of months before he was eaten.
Eating horses has always been a problem for the English. They only appear capable of tucking in when the only other option is to eat each other, or worse still, dogs. On December 9, 1911, as he approached the Beardmore Glacier in Antarctica on his epic journey to the South Pole, Scott ordered the last of his ponies all killed. They had been lovingly nurtured members of his team, there to do a job — haul sledges — and were known by affectionate names. Lieutenant Birdie Bowers regularly saved a precious portion of his daily ration of biscuit to feed his pony, Victor, right up until he was shot in the head, then butchered, his meat depoted for food so that the men might make use of it on their return journey. They called this place Shambles Camp, a nod to the bloody mess it made of the pristine ice.

Here’s a recipe shared by Jamie Oliver’s apprentice chefs from his restaurant Fifteen visiting Italy.

“Fifteen Go Mad in Puglia.”

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