Horsemeat: The Joy of Horse Tartare
By Umberto Bacchi | February 9, 2013 3:24 AM EST
Britain's horsemeat scandal has worried many meat eaters, fearful at the possibility of having tucked in to parts of one of Britain's best-loved animals in the belief they were munching on a Burger King Whopper or Findus lasagne.
But while British and Irish investigators try to find out how horsemeat entered the food chain, observers abroad are less scandalised.
Horse tartare, meatballs and rare-cooked equine steaks are savoured in Italy, which is one of the largest consumers of horsemeat in the world. It has been estimated that Italians eat an average of 1.3kg of horse per person a year. About 75,000 horses were butchered for consumption in Italy in 2012.
Horse is consumed mainly in a few areas such as Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Apulia and the town of Parma in Emilia, which tops the horsemeat eaters' consumption table with an average of 3kg per person per year.
As my father comes from Parma, I have eaten my share of horsemeat from an early age. My late grandmother's fried horse meatballs were a huge hit with the family. Despite fears that a horse drug, bute (phenylbutazone), is dangerous to humans, I am pretty well.
Italians' appetite for horses survived an eighth century ban by Pope Gregory that forbade horse-eating. He described it as "abominable" because of its links to pagan practice and ceremonies.
Despite Italy's deep Christian faith, horse eaters proved resilient.
Icelanders reportedly went further by rejecting efforts to convert them to Christianity in the first millennium because it would mean giving up their traditional minced or fondue horse delicacies.
What's so special about horsemeat?
It was not until the Pope conceded to their demand to be allowed to continue eating hosemeat that the island nation converted in AD1000.
So, what is so special about horsemeat.
Well, it is high in iron and often recommended to pregnant women, children and the anaemic. Unlike beef, it also contains glycogens - which give it its peculiar sweetish taste - and has moderate levels of cholesterol.
Above all else, however, it is tasty and tender, particularly when cooked for a short time. Hence, the preference for rare steaks or tartare preparations.
Umberto Bacchi is an IBTimes UK foreign news reporter
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Slow-Moving Yet Unrelenting Hawaii Lava Now Only Inches Away From Pahoa Homes
- 2014 MLB World Series Game 6: Kansas City Royals 10, San Francisco Giants 0 [PHOTOS]
- San Francisco Giants Beat Kansas City Royals, 3-2 In Game 7, Wins 2014 MLB World Series [PHOTOS]
- Cavaliers, LeBron James Flop In First Game Back In Cleveland; New York Knicks, Melo Pull Off Road Upset, 95-90 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Video Showing Mentally Disabled African American Shot 46 Times By Eight Police Officers For Just Holding A Penknife
- Kate Middleton Pregnancy Update: Duchess Forced To Return To Royal Engagements, Feuding With The Queen Over Royal Duties---Report
- Google Loses Lawsuit Against Canadian Woman Over Breast Exposure
- Robbery Attempt in Sydney Bank, Armed Robbers on The Loose
- Father Spots A Bald Patch On The Lawn Outside His Girls' Bedroom And Gets Shocked At The Reason
- NATO: Russia's Been Conducting Too Many Military Flights Over Europe
- Moto X 2014 vs. Motorola DROID Turbo - Specifications, Features And Price Showdown
- Dismantling Of Fukushima Reactor 1 Faces Delays, US Judge Gives Sailor Go Signal To Push Through Lawsuit Against TEPCO Over Radiation
- Samsung Galaxy Note Edge To Be Available Through T-Mobile In The US
- Five Extreme Drop Tests On BlackBerry Passport Reveals Its Endurance [Watch Video]
- Updated iOS 8 Pangu Untethered Jailbreak Now Fully Works with Cydia: Key Fixes & Mods to Expect
- Ex-Ohio Trooper Pleads Guilty To Issuing Sex as Penalty To Women Motorists