They Eat Horses, Don’t They?

When we first moved to Ireland,  I remember there being a bit of a flap in England about joining the European Union and having to export their prized hunting stallions to France to be eaten.  I don’t remember the particulars but do remember wondering if an Arabian was better than a Palomino.  After moving to Andorra I realized that the whole bit had apparently been blown up by the tabloids….In Andorra they raise ‘food horses’ (lots) and riding horses (not so many) and, at least to my untrained eye, there is a difference.  The food horses are grazed in the high pastures like the sheep and goats.  They are stocky animals: short legs, big bodies, big hooves, and don’t appear any more domesticated than the goats and sheep they graze with.  The meat is exported mainly to France and Spain, with only a small amount sold locally – pork and lamb being favored in Andorra.  The riding horses are kept in stables and fed apples by hand – just like everywhere else.
Europeans, in general, know that meat was once an actual animal, and are okay with that.  They have no problem enjoying all of it.  It's common to see a plate of pig's feet at the table next to you at lunch.  Pig ears (real ones) are great dog treats!  We were told not to accept dinner invitations in Ireland on a Tuesday because that was 'tripe' (stomach lining) day and I often hear my British friends raving about the tongue they had at so and so's.
I, on the other hand come from a squeamish background.  I like what I eat to have 'food' names: chops, steaks, roast; rather than vital body-part names: lung, heart, tongue, brains.  Don't get me wrong, I have eaten my share of non-standard fare.  I grew up in the Midwest where hunting is common, (although by the time I saw any of the meat it was cooked and on the table).  I have eaten: squirrel, rabbit, raccoon (only once, eww..), venison, buffalo and all sort of birds.  In the southwest I was convinced to try rattlesnake and in Florida, 'gator.  Trust me, the only thing that tastes like chicken is chicken!  I am not totally lacking in culinary courage – I just don't want to eat intestines…or brains…or glands…or tongues.
Plus, I don't know how to eat a pig foot….Pick it up and gnaw?  Knife and fork…how does one cut a hoof?  Does one eat all of it?  Is that why there are so many dogs in European restaurants (slip it under the table to the family garbage can)? 
For the record I have, unintentionally, eaten sweetbreads (quite tasty), kidneys (I'll pass), horse (kind of sweet but very lean and tender), kid (flavor was good but texture strange), tripe (no comment) and haggis (lots of whisky) and more parts of pig than I really want to know about.
And foie gras?  That's a classification all to itself: Nectar of the Gods!  (My mother liked liver…)

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