How would you like your horse? Medium rare?
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.
I will say, however, that being on the bare face of a mountainside, and having a flock of sheep come over the rise is fun.
Seeing a drove of goats come over the rise is interesting.
Hearing a herd of wild ‘food’ horses thundering over the rise, with the herder shouting and cracking a long whip, is absolutely terrifying!
Back to the food: the meat is exported mainly to France and Spain, with only a small amount sold locally – pork and lamb being favored in Andorra.
You will find it in the shops and on menus, particularly in rural areas, both horse and colt.
Oh, and 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 I like it!) 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!
(I’m taking a hint from Lydia, of A Perfect Pantry, who made a comment recently that sometimes, in order to stay sane, we bloggers need to take a wee break and do a reprint of an older post. This is from one done in the early days of my blog, with modifications, of course. I never could leave anything alone… The photo is new…)
And the food is new….
We just can’t seem to break away from winter this year.
We have a bit of spring and think it’s time to get the barbecue out.
Then the rains come back and we are lighting fires every night again.
Thus I had half of a container of pesto in the fridge. It had been meant for a salad but, as that didn’t appear to be happening anytime soon, it ended up in the meatballs.
So, sorry Ruth: I’m back to winter cooking this week!
Be sure to visit Once Upon a Feast, on Friday, for the Presto Pasta Night recap! Maybe someone else will have salads….
Spaghetti with Pesto Meatballs
12 oz ground beef (350 gr mince)
3 tbs bread crumbs
3 tbs pesto
1 tbs red wine
1 can crushed tomatoes, 15 oz (450gr)
1 can tomato sauce, 8oz (250ml)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp paprika
1 tbs olive oil
spaghetti, with basil or spinach is nice
2 – 3 tbs Parmesan for sprinkling
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Lightly beat egg with a fork. Add pesto, bread crumbs, wine and mix well. Add beef, mix well. Form into meatballs, about 1 1/2″ (5cm) in diameter.
Roughly chop onion and mince garlic. In large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add paprika and sauté briefly. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until tender and onion is transparent, 7 – 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, sauce and herbs. Heat to a simmer. Drop the meatballs in carefully, trying to keep them separate. Cover and simmer until meatballs are done, about 15 minutes. Stir once or twice.
When pasta is done, drain and put into a large bowl. Pour meatballs and sauce over the top, remove bay leaf, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
Mon mari just saw a bit on the telly about a restaurant in China that specializes in dog. Apparently brown dogs are preferred (sorry, Sedi) with black dogs being acceptable and white dogs the least favored (lucky Emma).
I don’t think I’ll go there.