Friday, December 4, 2009

’Orse meat

Nowhere in Europe have I seen such a high concentration of horse butchers as in Italy. In Puglia there is at least a Macelleria Equina for every Polleria, and the pugliesi love to tease squamish and sentimental foreign dinner guests with a horse meat alert.

- Why don’t you eat ‘orse meat? Those who speak a bit of English ask. It is good for you. Horse meat is rich on iron and very tasty, like a mixture of beef and game.

I try to explain during the last war horsemeat was sold in Denmark, but today horses are mainly used as work mates and pets, and you would not eat your cat, dog and budgies either. The argument is, however, wasted on the Italians to whom taste is paramount, and you end up feeling like an anemic schizzinosa.

According to Wikipedia, Italy produces meat from 213,000 horses a year, which is more than any other European country. In fact Northern Europe exports worn out riding horses to Italy, where they are butchered and eaten, cause unlike sheep and cattle horses are not bred and raised specifically for their meat. So from an economic and environmental point of view, it makes sense to serve this taboo for dinner.

Thrift and practical considerations are also behind one of Italy’s most famous horse meat dishes, the pastisada de caval from Verona. Allegedly the recipe dates back to 489 ad, when King Teodorico and King Odoacre fought a great battle outside town. After the battle the ground was strewn with horse corpses, which King Teodorico donated to the people of Verona to celebrate the victory. At that point the rotting stench was already noticable, so the people of Veneto cooked the meat for hours with lots of onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and other vegetables, herbs and spices like bayleaf, cinnamon and clove and the local Amarone wine.

It should be really delicious – if you like horses in this way too.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails