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On Horse Meat and Other Foods ...

14 February 2013, 11:00

Whilst I fully agree that people should always make informed choices, i.e. that they should know what they’re eating and that things shouldn’t be snuck onto their plates, I remain rather surprised around the 'hoo-haa' that goes on around the issue of horse meat, dog meat and all other foodstuffs unfamiliar to us, in the sense that we judge others according to what they eat.

I’m puzzled, because it’s all so bloody irrational. You do realise, don’t you, that your culinary habits are entirely determined by where you grow up? In essence, it’s a cultural thing. Hindus would never consider eating beef, whilst you happily scoff it down and, in the same way that we may think “but they’re missing out – it’s sooo delicious”, an Asian man might think the same of us when we refuse to sample dog. Take a second to consider cheese! We literally leave milk to rot into clumps and are willing to pay premiums for the smellier types. Then we have the high-and-mightiness to call other cultures ‘disgusting’ for eating horse etc.

I also feel it necessary to pre-empt the inevitable (and emotional) “but dogs are pets and they’re just different from a cow or a chicken” … well, I’ll have you know that chickens make great companions and, if you’re so concerned about how intelligent your stir fry might once have been, I invite you to spend some time around a pig. They stare at you with almost creepy understanding!

Personally, I have sampled, amongst other things, Donkey (in a delicious stew from Northern Italy), Rabbit (also Italy and also amazing), Snails (available everywhere), Frog, Scorpion, Cockroach and Worm (Thailand – crunchy, but not very good) and Jelly Fish (here in Joburg, at some Chinese function - bleugh). I’ve been fine every time. I have the attitude to try things at least once (unless unethical, ‘cos they’re endangered or something) so long as others have eaten it and not been sick. I’ve not liked some things, but have discovered some incredible tastes. I can’t help but feel it a pity that so many others limit themselves to what their parents fed them when they were young.

So, do you agree or disagree? If you disagree and prefer to stick to what you know, will you at least admit that this is driven by irrational emotion?

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