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Horse meat on Canadian cooking show raises eyebrows

Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

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Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

I'm watching Top Chef Canada and channel surfing - and I see on the news that folks are upset with the use of 'horse meat' - the chef used it to make a tartare with a raw egg on top, and seriously under-spiced. She didn't win today's event.

And the Americans are watching:  Horse Meat Scandal on Top Chef Canada

excerpt:

Despite the fact that horse meat is not widely consumed in Canada, over 90,000 horses a year are slaughtered for food there. Its high-protein, low-fat meat is still consumed in many parts of the world, including Italy, Japan and Brazil. The taboo of eating horse meat persists in most of North America, however, and the Canadian horse meat industry remains controversial. If horse meat isn't your thing, perhaps you would like camel (Egypt), whales (Norway) or monkeys (sub-Saharan Africa).


Doug
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Joined: Apr 17 2001

So? Are horses somehow more special than cows? Why not complain about the seal flippers the chef from Newfoundland used on an episode?


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

From CBC: Furor over horse meat on Top Chef Canada

excerpt:

 Top Chef Canada is airing an episode Monday night called "The French Feast," which will require chefs* to create a dish from scratch using horse meat. Horse meat has been on menus for a long time in Europe and is available on supermarket shelves in Quebec.

But in the rest of North America, it's not considered a palatable staple. Three Facebook groups have popped up encouraging viewers to boycott Top Chef Canada.

In a statement posted on the show's Facebook page, Food Network Canada said that "while we understand that this content may not appeal to all viewers, [our network] aims to engage a wide audience, embracing different food cultures in our programming."

 *actually, only one chef used horse meat. The others used rabbit, oysters, frog's legs, foie gras, and some other ingredients.

ETA: just a matter of time before PETA raises a howl.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

Amazing how culture holds sway like this.  I have never had occasion to eat horse, but I don't suppose I'd have much more difficulty than trying goat (which is amazing in a Caribbean curry).  But I couldn't go as far as eating dog in Asia, although some of my companions did. 


al-Qa'bong
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Joined: Feb 27 2003

Quote:

ETA: just a matter of time before PETA raises a howl.

 

You actually edited your post to add that?

 

I doubt if PETA would have more of a problem with eating horses than they'd have with eating bunnies or frogs' legs. What the hell do they do with the rest of the frogs anyway? Do the former lilypad hoppers just swim around ponds with their front legs, hoping that more caring amphibians hand them some spare flies?

 

And what about foie gras? It's made from the livers of geese for whom mealtimes are essentially torture sessions.


Boom Boom
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Had to mention PETA here somehow! Laughing


al-Qa'bong
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Why?


Bubbles
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Joined: Feb 21 2003

My mother, who came from Holland, used to complain that horse meat was so hard to get hold off here in this area. She especialy liked smoked horse meat on a sandwhich. So we had it only a couple of times a year at best. Tasts just fine. I must say that I do not understand the aversion most seem to have towards it. It has rubbed off on my kids too, they would not eat it if they knew that it was horse meat. But if you tell them it is sliced smoked beef it is just fine. A mind issue.


Boom Boom
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al-Qa'bong wrote:

Why?

Well, PETA goes after everything else, so why not raise a fuss over horse meat too? I'm just saying we can expect attack ads or increased fund raising from them as a result of this matter. This is about playing to their base and making money from it.


Bubbles
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Joined: Feb 21 2003

Mind you, as a farmer, I would not likey raise horses just for the meat. I have been told that their feed conversion is not all that good. But I can see that as a result of the popularity of horses, it might be a good by product.


Lachine Scot
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Joined: Jun 19 2010

Sheesh, what's the difference between one meat and another..


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Taste?


Lachine Scot
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Joined: Jun 19 2010

Touché!


al-Qa'bong
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Quote:

Well, PETA goes after everything else...

 

Everything else? Yeah, that's so huge and vague an indictment it must be true, so your premise logically is correct.


Boom Boom
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You can see I am not inclined to hyperbole, right? Wink


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

There was something on this this morning on Q.

The only reasonable argument I heard against horse slaughter was an allegation that some of the meat is from racing animals and others which have been pumped with hormones - in short, that it is unfit and dangerous to eat. 

As for the other accusations of cruelty in slaughtering well, how is that problem, or the solution any different than for any other animal. 

My inclination is that the taboo comes down to the pet thing. I have eaten horse twice - once overseas, and once in Manitoba, and I thought it was just fine. Didn't get chased by a vengeful pooka in my dreams or anything

For those who are partial to meat, I recommend Felicity Dunlop's great book on Szechan cuisine - "Land of Plenty" for a bit of a crash course in the range of what is considered acceptable meat consumption. There is a chapter devoted specifically to the topic.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

I'd heard that horses are often slaughtered because PMU operations breed to many of them.  I wonder if they wind up as food for human consumption.

I'll have to look up that book, 6079.  I know it was absolutely the pet thing when I turned down a dish of dog.  I just kept picturing Lu and Kali and couldn't do it.  But I also didn't go for the scorpions or silk worms.  Purely cultural bias - the dishes smelled delicious.


6079_Smith_W
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Actually if I had a chance to try dog I would, since i have heard very good things about it - though I am sure it all depends on the dog. 

Apparently when the Lewis and Clark expedition came out of the Bitterroot Mountains half-dead the people they encountered took them in and nursed them back to health with lots of salmon. The Americans got so tired of it eventually they started trading anything they could for dog so they could get some red meat. 

I am not a big fan of kidney, and I have even managed to eat durian. but the only food I have ever declined to try is smoked udder.


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

At a Fish and Game Club dinner, I unwittingly ate a small dish of muskrat once - it was billed as 'marsh rabbit' - and I got sick afterwards - whoever cooked it forgot to take out the scent glands.


bagkitty
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

Boom Boom: is that mention of being able to get horse meat on supermarket shelves a quote? I remember buying it in Montreal, but had to go to a speciality butcher shop way east on Mont Royal. Don't remember ever seeing it on the shelves in Steinberg's or Provigo.


Timebandit
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

Actually if I had a chance to try dog I would, since i have heard very good things about it - though I am sure it all depends on the dog. 

Apparently when the Lewis and Clark expedition came out of the Bitterroot Mountains half-dead the people they encountered took them in and nursed them back to health with lots of salmon. The Americans got so tired of it eventually they started trading anything they could for dog so they could get some red meat. 

I am not a big fan of kidney, and I have even managed to eat durian. but the only food I have ever declined to try is smoked udder.

Oh, there's nothing better than a "snake and kitty"pie (that would be steak and kidney to the non-Cockney) that's done properly!  And a lot of the ones you'll encounter aren't done quite right.  I've some organic beef kidney in the deep freeze, actually.  Mmmmm. 

ETA:  What I can't find at a reasonable price is rabbit.  My favourite butcher shop carries it, but very expensive.  And I know the wretched things aren't that expensive to raise.


Boom Boom
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bagkitty wrote:

Boom Boom: is that mention of being able to get horse meat on supermarket shelves a quote? I remember buying it in Montreal, but had to go to a speciality butcher shop way east on Mont Royal. Don't remember ever seeing it on the shelves in Steinberg's or Provigo.

Yes, it's a quote from the CBC article. I'm in my 60s, and I've never seen horse meat available anywhere. Neigh!


Farmpunk
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Joined: Jul 25 2006

Some butchers in my area still stock smoked horse meat for Hungarian\central Euro customers.  I've never tried it.

I know, from a reliable horse source, that there's a farmer local to me who raises Cyldesdales for the meat market.... in China.  He ships them live.  

People who are into horses, as pets\companions, tend to be extremely passionate about their animals.  To them, a horse is not just another animal.  


6079_Smith_W
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Timebandit wrote:

Actually if I had a chance to try dog I would, since i

ETA:  What I can't find at a reasonable price is rabbit.  My favourite butcher shop carries it, but very expensive.  And I know the wretched things aren't that expensive to raise.

Well there's your answer right there. I couldn't do it because the kids wouldn't let me get away with it. Speaking of which, a friend of mine was traumatized as a kid because her dad used to keep his fish in the bathtub to get the muddy taste out of them. Seeing her new pet on the supper table every Friday was too much for her.

And real snake (rattlesnake) is actually quite good. Not like some reptiles like alligator, which frankly, reminded me of the pissy taste of kidney, only sweeter.

And speaking of muskrats, rabbits and other rodents, someone brought a beaver dressed and roasted like a chicken to a treeplanting meeting of ours some years ago. It was wonderful.


iceman
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Joined: Jun 1 2009

My ex works for renewable Resourses and we attended one of their Christmas parties where variety of interesting food was served. I had smoked lynx, wolf sausage and a porky stew. The hardest to eat was the lynx as several cats lived with us at the time. Porky is one of the hardest game meats to prepare because if not done properly, it tastes like insect repellant!


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

Perhaps if Canadians were as outraged by the slaughter of Afghans or Libyans as they are of horses, we might have an effective anti-war movement.


Slumberjack
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I don't really have a horse in any discussion about regional or international culinary tastes, except to say that we're quite often carried away with our North American and European colonial centric view of what constitutes a decent eating experience.  A few weeks ago on vacation I enjoyed the most delicious moose sausages I've had in awhile.  All of the widely accepted uses of beef for example, within the various dishes served up and discussed as part of our accepted conversations, such as steak tar tar, huge dripping BBQ blackened rare slabs of it, liver, kidney pie, etc...might be just as unappealing in another situation where it may potentially be acceptable to as many or possibly more people engaged in a conversation involving poodles and noodles, german sheppard pie, or schnauzer schnitzel.  Eating meat of any kind leaves little room to disparage regional preferences here and there.


Timebandit
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Joined: Sep 25 2001

I don't think anyone was disparaging preferences - just talking about how it's interesting how our cultural views and relationships to certain animals make them food or not-food. 

I had winters growing up where we ate elk or moose instead of beef.  Deer, too, and game birds.  Some say they're a bit of an acquired taste, but I figure everything is.  ;)


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@SJ

Yeah, I think I missed the disparaging comment, whatever it was. The smoked udder I turned down was about as eurocentric as it gets - in Basel, Switzerland. Or perhaps I can offer some lutefisk, or a bit of haggis with extra lung? Blood pudding. or brain sausage?

But I do think the people who would be most disgusted at our north american diet are the North Americans themselves if they had a good whiff of where hot dogs come from, or realized that those plastic wrapped chickens went through a bath of shit soup before they wound up on their styrofoam trays.

And Timebandit, I think my kitchen would feel empty if I didn;t have at least a bit of moose or deer in the freezer. As a matter of fact, I just got a sour cabbage today, and I think moose holopci is on the menu.

 


KeyStone
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Joined: Apr 23 2008

Horses live better lives than most meat animals, simply because they are raised for purposes other than meat, and so are allowed to roam free most of their lives.

The real issue should be pork, as pigs are kept in absolutely abominable conditions.

Not that many of you care, with the opinions expressed in this thread.


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