Unconventional Meat – Horse Meat

It is mentally and emotionally challenging to eat Horse, but so is all meat as far as I am concerned. I think Horse meat is especially hard to stomach because of the companion aspect to it. In North America we don’t eat dog, cats or horses, on a large scale. But many places around the world do. It is common to eat dog in China, Korea, Switzerland. In places like Peru, certain areas of China and Switzerland, you can find cat. And Horse, well, there are many countries that eat Horse. This episode was a hard one to tackle.

So Horse. Did you know that Canada exports horse meat to places like Japan and Europe? Alberta is known for its beef and ranchers. And we all understand that cows get eaten. But what happens to all those horses when they can no longer be ridden? They stop winning blue ribbons? They get tangled in barbed wire, or break a leg? But what happens to retired racehorses and horses that people can afford to keep anymore? Seriously, horses are expensive. The land and the horse are not what make it expensive it is the trailer, the truck, the feed and the veterinary bills that can add up and turn your cash into compost in a very quick time frame.

I had horse meat two ways at Taste Restaurant. Chef Greenwood makes his own charcuterie, which is displayed in this enormous and gorgeous glass faced refrigerator type thing along the wall of the restaurant. On any given day, in this display, you might find a curing pig’s head, bison tongue and a plethora of other charcuterie, along with a crazy variety of rare and stinky cheeses. He prepared the horse two ways for us: horse tartare and horse sausage.  I am a big fan of tartare and will usually try it to compare, however, I am becoming less and less enamoured by truffle oil and most tartare has a hint of it at least. This is a trend that I will be very happy to see go away, but for the time being I will deal. I still love raw meat.

Chef Greenwood uses a chili oil rather than a truffle oil, which enhances the sweet flavor of the meat and gives it a slightly spicy finish. It really is a dance in your mouth. The horse sausage itself was so moist with a really smooth consistency. It was moister than most sausages I’ve had. I like cured & dried meats, sausages and the like, but they are often chewy, which to me brings another level of entertainment to eating. It’s like it is acceptable to play with your food. Only it is a secret play between your tongue, taste buds and teeth.

Also in this episode, I speak with a Horse Meat Inspector from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Dr. Martin Appelt, and the Chairman of the Horse Welfare Alliance, Bill Des Barres, who himself raises horses and eats horse meat. The Horse Welfare Alliance has an amazing website with a plethora of information about this and other concerns within the Horse Industry in Alberta and Canada. Then as far as other unconventional meats, Amanda speaks with a rabbit farmer who not only raises rabbits for meat but also keeps them as pets. And we also speak with Chef John Michael MacNeil about serving brains at one of the finest restaurants in Calgary, Teatro.

If you missed this episode you can download it on iTunes. Or go to www.cjsw.com for links to this and other podcasts. The background music has changed to En Croisiere by the French band called Juanitos. You can now download it for free from www.freemusicarchive.org