The Outsider: Rachael Sugden's column
I'VE never eaten horse. I think I would (so as not to offend) if it were presented to me by a kind host. But I can't imagine ordering it in a restaurant if there were other, more "appetising" dishes on offer. Horse just doesn't appeal.
I'm not a vegetarian, but I am picky about where my meat comes from. I was brought up in a house where every meal was made from scratch, with homegrown veg and, occasionally, home-reared animals.
The rest of the time we used the local butcher, where meat was easily attributed to individual farmers (most of whom my parents also knew personally).
A few nights a week we didn't have any meat at all – because there was no way we'd be served something miscellaneous and tasteless when the Family Allowance started to wane. Instead there'd be cheese on toast, roasted vegetables or fish.
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These habits have followed me into adulthood, and I continue to eat "nice" meat or none at all.
But I know this isn't the norm. I know that today, for convenience as much as cost, ready meals and "value" supermarket products are in most families' freezers.
The legalities of the current "scandal" seem to revolve around misleading labelling rather than whether people want to eat horse in the first place.
I wonder how many people are now intrigued what horse may actually taste like?
I wonder how many people are less offended by the prospect of eating horse than the fact they thought they'd bought something else?
Over the years, while horse hasn't made it on to my plate, I have eaten plenty of things that may cause people to curl their lips in distaste. Be warned vegetarians: look away now.
In the UK, I've eaten every kind of game bird on offer. I know how long to hang a pheasant for, and how to skin one when it's ripe.
I love hare (very rich and gamey), venison and rabbit.
I was very disappointed to discover that squirrel didn't taste remotely nutty.
Overseas I've eaten farmed alligator steak in a restaurant (fishy flavoured chicken, with the texture of pork, if you were wondering) and rattle snake fajitas.
Then there was the goat curry, the guinea pig stir fry and, I've a horrible feeling, there was once something involving dog from a street cart in Asia.
I only suspect that it was dog given the number of sorry looking strays we spotted tied up down a nearby side street, after we'd eaten what was a very delicious mound of deep-fried meat.
As far as I can tell, many cheap, processed foods are of uncertain origin.
A packet of cheap fish fingers, for example, said "made from 100 per cent fish fillet" on the packet. Er, yes, you'd hope so, but what kind of fish?
And if a steak pie doesn't specify it's made from beef steak, who's to say it's not reconstituted and reformed pork, chicken or, indeed, horse?
Unless you're cooking yourself, there's surely no way of ever knowing exactly what's on your plate.