Horse d’oeuvres


I like horses.  I like them so much that I don’t fancy riding them, not that I get the opportunity much – the last time was in Cuba, if memory serves, back when Fidel was in charge.  I do understand that that’s kind of what they’re for, but I figure that, given its druthers, the horse would rather not have me on its back.

I definitely like them enough NOT to eat them, although the events of the last few weeks suggest that I probably have had some Secretariat at some point, possibly in the form of a pie at a football match or maybe a burger van burger in a moment of, well, drunkenness.  I know that they enjoy cheval in France and many other places (my dad, jet-lagged and exhausted, mistakenly ordered and ate horse carpaccio in Bogota), but for me, growing up on Gunsmoke, the Lone Ranger and Pit Pony (google it – the height of Canadian public broadcasting), it just ain’t right.  And it appears to be just not right for many people in Britain.  Although the furore will likely pass in a few months, just like BSE, the scandal has raised important questions about the provenance of what goes down our gullet, 107 years after Upton Sinclair raked mud all over the Chicago meatpacking industry in The Jungle.

Having said that, horse-gate has occurred at the perfect time for me and my new MSc seminar, Food and Health in the Twentieth Century.  Not that my students need much encouraging, but what a way to break the ice before we launch into the business of the day.  After a moment’s silence for the poor ponies, of course…