Quick, who eats horsemeat? If you don’t know the answer, read on. The information may be good for you!
French, Italians, Swiss, Japanese and Quebecois in Canada are horse meat aficionados and most of the 65,000 horses slaughtered in the country were shipped to Europe, Japan and to the province of Quebec.
The French appetite for horse meat dates from the Battle of Eylau in 1807, when the surgeon-in-chief of Napoleon’s Army, Baron Dominique-Jean Larry, advised the starving troops to eat the flesh of dead battlefield horses. The cavalry used breastplates as cooking pans. They also used whatever spices they could get their hands on. It continues today!
Horsemeat is lean, protein-rich, finely textured, bright red, firm, and more so horses are immune to BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). Tough meat cuts must be cooked long enough to tenderise connective tissue (collagen), or marinated before cooking to ensure both flavour and tenderness.
English will not consume horsemeat. To them, horses are companions, not food, the way most of us think of dogs!
Yet Chinese and Korean eat dog meat and consider it a delicacy. One man’s protein is another man’s pet!
Today horsemeat at least in Quebec, particularly in Montreal is very popular. Butchers specializing in horsemeat are busier than ever due to the BSE fears spreading rapidly.
Horse butchers in Montreal sell minced meat, steaks, sausages, and brochettes. All claim horsemeat to be superior quality from a sanitary perspective.
In Europe, horse butchers are allowed to sell only horsemeat, as is the case in Quebec.
Americans will not touch horsemeat, and find it offensive to consume it.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage.
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