Saturday, 19 January 2013

So hungry you could eat a horse?

This week it was discovered that some beefburgers sold by some Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland supermarkets in the UK and Ireland contained traces of pork and horse.

Apart from Kenneth Williams's character, J. Peasmould Gruntfuttock, in the 1960s radio comedy, Round the Horne, who regularly mentioned his purchases from "the horse meat shop in the Balls Pond Road", I've never heard anyone in Britain mention eating horse meat.

(As a child I'd heard stories that the French ate horse meat but from a nation whose staple diet is frogs legs and snails, it hardly surprised me.)

If you really want to know why the Brits are revolted by the idea of eating horse flesh there is a good BBC article here and Peter Lund Simmons 1859 book, The curiosities of food contains lots of information about the French and their love of horse meat.

This got me thinking about how this story was reported around the world, so here are some links to reports I found which could be used with students:


L'express has a great article (and links to horse-recipes)

Ouest-France takes the view that it is a terrible thing because consumers wanted beef but got pork and horse.

L'Orient was more worried that the burgers contained pork which some religions are not permitted to eat.


Spiegel concentrates more on the German companies, Aldi and Lidl, involved.

Die Welt has the same slant but also has a photo of a man with a big knife and a horse. has a brilliant sensationalist headline: Schwindel bei Tesco!


I chose this from diarriocorreo in Peru because in South and Central America eating horses is quite common.

El pais reports that Ireland blames Spain for the fiasco.

El mundo presents a more factual report.

So there you go.

Finally here is a French website full of recipes for the novice hippophagist.

Personally, I wouldn't ask for a horseburger, but if something tastes really good, does it matter what's in it?

Bon appétit!


Moodle Fairy said...

Total over reaction in my view :) I spent a year as an assistante in a French school in 1979 as part of my degree (showing my age there!) and we had horsemeat on the menu every Monday - nothing wrong with it at all - though personally I would have preferred it to have been cooked for a bit longer...

Dom said...

Thanks for the comment. I agree about the over reaction. Once on a school trip some pupils ordered hamburger à cheval. I told them what it was but they didn't believe me and really enjoyed it.