Well Horseburgergate keeps rumbling along here in the UK with Burger King being the latest retailer to dump a load of patties containing gee gee DNA. I hope that the meat is being sensibly disposed of, there is nothing wrong with it after all, it’s just not what people believed they were buying.
Having eaten a lot of burgers over the past 50 odd years and having visited most countries in Europe, I’m pretty sure I must have eaten horsemeat sometime, but I have to admit I have never knowingly chosen to eat it. I don’t know why this is, I don’t have any sentimental attachment to horses, unlike my grandfather who was a cavalry trooper in the twilight years of the military horse.
And while I have certainly eaten quite a wide range of animals, both domestic and wild,
whenever Dobbin has been on the menu I have usually chosen something else to eat. Now whether that’s an innate prejudice against eating horse or whether there was just something else I fancied to eat on the menu is hard to say.
Anyhow this got me to thinking about the sort of creatures I have eaten and the logic behind these gastronomic choices. Dogs and cats are certainly off the menu, I have had too many personal relationships with these creatures to be comfortable eating them, but oddly enough I have no trouble with munching Benjamin here,
especially with juniper berries, similarly one of these would be OK, we don’t eat enough of our wild creatures and there are plenty of these chaps to go round.
Whenever we visit Edinburgh’s Farmer’s Market I always make straight for the Puddle Dub Buffalo burgers, it’s good lean meat and low in cholesterol
while our local Farmer’s Market used to do a good line in ostrich,
which I first sampled in a Belgian pub in Clerkenwell. Again it’s good lean meat, more like beef than chicken (see not everything tastes of chicken)
Eating pigs is I find a bit more problematic. Pigs are brighter than dogs, but then you can’t beat a bacon sandwich in the morning. On a more serious note I have discovered that outdoor reared rare breeds do taste better than intensively farmed animals. I’m not sure what breed Derek is (and he’s someone’s pet anyway), but Gloucester Old Spots sausages are much tastier than the ones from the supermarket, so I’m happy to pay a bit more for an occasional treat.
The same is true for beef cattle, like Hamish above, and for sheep and goats, animals that get the opportunity to roam about are tastier and at the end of their days they will have had a better life.
UKIP have tried to frighten us into thinking that Italian salami is full of donkey meat,
but then I’m pretty certain worse things find their way into supermarket burgers and sausages and it won’t put me off eating salami or being pro-European, so epic fail there Mr Farage.
I suppose the most exotic creature I have ever eaten was wallaby.
We ate Skippy on the famous dining tram in Melbourne and on a barbie overlooking Uluru as the Sun set. Lovely meat, very tender. There were also supposed to Witchetty grubs on the barbie, but by the time I’d drunk enough local fizz to want to eat one, they’d all gone. I have however, eaten the worm from a bottle of tequila, not that it was anything special – tasted of tequila as it goes.
In Norway we sampled elk, which is a wonderfully rich meat, especially good in stews
and reindeer (in a wrap with horseradish), while back home I often make a game stew with,
venison (though I’m not sure which species could be Red, fallow, roe or muntjac), wood pigeon,
partridge, mallard and pheasant.
The only other mammal I can recall eating is bison which is like a very lean beef. As far as birds go I have scoffed, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, guinea fowl, pheasant, partridge, pigeon and ostrich, but I draw the line at eating songbirds, a bit like whitebait, too many bones!