Aside from any criminal activity going on inside this apparent scandal about horse meat, and possibly donkey meat, being found in beef products you do have to ask yourself, are we making too much of a fuss?
We don’t eat horse meat in the UK and that’s a cultural decision. Why don’t we eat it though? It’s eaten, and perfectly accepted elsewhere in the world and other cultures embrace it. We don’t eat it because it seems dreadful to even consider eating horse meat.
What irks me about this, and I may have eaten horse meat in the last few weeks (after succumbing to the temptation of a burger from a certain fast food outlet to read but 20 minutes later that their products likely contained horse meat), is that I was not given the choice. I’m sure this bothers many other people as well. I choose not to eat a few things, lamb, duck, pheasant and venison being among them. If horse was available here I would likely choose not to eat it either. It’s not that I’m a fussy eater, I just don’t like eating meat that much.
Yes it will be criminal if the horse meat contains drugs harmful to humans, that is truly a scandal but it’s what happens when a country stops doing things for itself and head off down the cheaper option. Eventually you will get exactly what you pay for.
Buy a packet of 6 burgers for 99p and you will run the risk of not having a clue what you’re actually eating. If you buy from a farm, farmers market, or local butcher you will know exactly what you’re eating and in the butchers he/she will be able to tell you exactly which farm the meat comes from and it’s likely very local.
It’s true that fresh meat is more expensive but by buying fresh doesn’t mean not having frozen. I have a friend who goes to a farmers market at the start of every month and buys good quality meat at pretty good prices, she cuts it up and freezes what she isn’t ready to use. Over the month she defrosts what she needs whether she’s making a roast, a curry, a stew.
The sad thing is, in our quest for quicker meals, less hassle creation of meals, we lost a lot of local butchers (among many other local shops) and we’ve lost that local, personal touch. I remember going to the butchers with my late grandmother and the butcher knew her, “same as usual Mrs Fox?” of course it was and while he prepared it they’d chat about their families, the local community.
Not to forget going to the butchers with my mother and her telling him how much she had to spend and him weighing the meat out to that amount. The personal touch.
The whole horsegate, dobbingate, horsemeatgate, what it’s being called today gate, should teach us something as a country. Go back to fresh produce, go back to home cooking. It seems pretty vital and simple when you think about it. You choose what you’re eating when you buy local, fresh produce. You don’t when you rely on a frozen food company. You could, literally, be putting anything into your body.
If you think you don’t have time to cook from fresh and create home cooked meals, try it. Cook a few meals at the same time then freeze them. There’s lots of ways around it.
You will also have chosen what you’ve eaten.