Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

How Do We Feel About Horsemeat and Donkey Meat?

I have eaten and thoroughly enjoyed either horsemeat and/or donkey meat
2
9%
I have eaten either horsemeat and/or donkey meat and felt rather neutral about the experience
4
18%
I have eaten either horsemeat and/or donkey meat and felt a mild disliking for it
0
No votes
I have eaten either horsemeat and/or donkey meat and felt a strong disliking for it
2
9%
I have eaten neither but if given the opportunity would gladly do so
1
5%
I have eaten neither but if given the opportunity might or might not try them
4
18%
I have eaten neither and if given the opportunity would reject it
9
41%
 
Total votes : 22
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Daniel Rogov

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Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:48 pm

To make the rounds of restaurants, both plain and fancy, or of the butcher shops of Verona is to quickly realize that horsemeat and donkey meat in various cuts are among the favorites of the Veronese. Considering that the participants of the forum come from many different societal and cultural backgrounds, what is our take on dining on these cuts of meat? Comments and observations are most invited.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Robert Reynolds » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:44 pm

I have never (knowingly) tried either, but the idea isn't nearly so off-putting as the thought of eating dog, cat or rat. I will admit to once having eaten opossum.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Ian Sutton » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:59 am

Probably will eat neither. Although being a lot more adventurous than I used to be, certainly the smell of raw horsemeat is a big turn off. Not sure what donkey is like, and maybe would try a small amount to see if I liked it.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Shlomo R » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:34 am

Being an Orthodox Jew, I have not, tried horse or donkey, nor will I. I cannot honestly determine, however, whether my aversion to the idea is due to my religious upbringing or due to some other influence.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Alan Wolfe » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:31 pm

When my wife's horse misbehaves, which isn't really often, I threaten to turn her (the horse, not my wife) into horseburger. It doesn't work. Maybe I should say it in Italian, Veronese dialect.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Ryan M » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:40 pm

Haven't tried either, and might or might not depending on my mood, with more than a slight lean in the would not direction.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:35 pm

Horse meat is prized in Mexico and parts of the Caribbean; is easy to find throughout all of France; and is at its most popular in the area of Verona where, together with donkey meat it is considered one of the regional specialties. Horse steak is also the most traditional offering at the Harvard University Facutly Club.

Me, I've had it - even sought it out - in all of those places and enjoyed it thoroughly when well prepared.

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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Bill Spohn » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:32 pm

We used to own a thoroughbred farm and of course my father had to try out some horseflesh when there was a premature death in the 'family'. Not bad, quite lean, on thw whole I wouldn't go out of my way to find it, but would eat it if that's what was being offered.

Never tried rookvlees - a sort of shaved dried horse meat popular in Holland, but it sounds interesting.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Matilda L » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:38 am

I'll try most things once. When travelling in a part of the world where these are part of the local culinary scene, I'd try them. Strangely, the idea of eating donkey seems harder to swallow (if that is the right expression) than eating horse. I have no idea why this should be.

I imagine that as with any other sort of animal, if what you are eating is from a young healthy animal it would be better than some poor old worn out neddy. It was ever thus with commonly-eaten animals such as sheep, cattle, chickens and turkeys. Certainly goat meat from a young farmed animal is better eating than a stringy old billy shot by a hunter out on the edge of the desert: I've tried both and I'll go with young and well cared for every time.

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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Matt Booth » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:30 pm

When traveling in France recently I found horse meat was quite popular, donkey not so much.

From what I understand the USA is the largest importer of horsemeat to France. I tried both the horse meat and the donkey meat, mostly out of a curiousity as to why those meats seem almost to be a delicacy in Europe.

I didn't like either. Both tasted the same to me which is further confusing as to why horse meat seems to be so much more favored than donkey. I am curious if it isn't in the eye of the beholder / mind of the eater simply because horses are more attractive in appearance (i.e if one was eating the beef from a Highland Cow or a fine Holstein and the two beefs actually tasted the same, would the mind trick us into believing the more attractive animal's meat tasted better?)

In my opinion, both donkey and horse taste like old venison which has been refrigerated improperly and too long.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Robin Garr » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:33 am

Rogov, I think I would feel some aversion to dining on a thick slab of horse steak, and I can recall snickering, as so many Americans used to do, at the butcher shops with the golden horse's head over the door in Paris of the '70s.

But - paralleling your mention of Verona - I've often had, and willingly enjoyed, horse and donkey sausages in Lombardia and the Veneto, specifically in the rural lake country around Valpolicella; and I had a donkey ragu in Oltrepo Pavese, I think, that was to die for.

I'm sort of a reluctant carnivore, I guess ... brought up in a meat-eating culture, I enjoy the taste of meat and find it hard to give up; but as an animal lover who recognizes the same light in a farm animal's eyes as I see in my beloved cats' eyes, it requires some suspension of disbelief to chow down on animal flesh; and the more the animal comes to companion status, the less likely I am to enjoy it. A horse falls awfully close to that line for me.

And yet ... and yet ... those sausages were powerfully good, and that ragu ...
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Daniel Rogov » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:09 am

Robin, Hi.....

Like you, I love animals of many kinds and when I meet or think of them it is only with kindness and gentility. That, I suppose is one of the reasons I have always been grateful to Dr. Freud, for it was he who gave names to those two necessary defense mechanisms so necessary to the life of "the happy carnivore" - rationalization and denial.

Also like you, I am well aware of the moral contradiction between being kind and humane and raising animals for the sole purpose of slaughtering and eating them. I guess I'm just good at rationalization and denial in this case. Doesn't make me as moral as I would wish. Then again, sainthood just ain't my thing.

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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Robin Garr » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:06 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:Then again, sainthood just ain't my thing.

Me either! Now pass over some of that steak, willya?
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Ian Sutton » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:39 pm

I had a slice of game pie this evening - which probably had rabbit in it. Now I don't eat rabbit, as we used to have a pet (of one of the breeds often used for rearing for meat). My attitude is I wouldn't choose to eat something that definitely had rabbit in, but if I don't know for sure, my conscience is relaxed :oops: 8)

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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Robert Reynolds » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:20 pm

I would gladly eat rabbit, squirrel, most gamebirds, and any form or fashion of venison. I also have no qualms in harvesting any of those myself, for that way i will know beyond a shadow of a doubt where the animals came from.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Ian Sutton » Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:36 am

Robert Reynolds wrote:I would gladly eat rabbit, squirrel, most gamebirds, and any form or fashion of venison. I also have no qualms in harvesting any of those myself, for that way i will know beyond a shadow of a doubt where the animals came from.

... and that they had natural living conditions, not herded into enclosed spaces in the name of efficiency and profit
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:40 pm

Robert Reynolds wrote:I would gladly eat rabbit, squirrel, most gamebirds, and any form or fashion of venison. I also have no qualms in harvesting any of those myself, for that way i will know beyond a shadow of a doubt where the animals came from.


Ian Sutton wrote:...... and that they had natural living conditions, not herded into enclosed spaces in the name of efficiency and profit



At the risk of being just a wee bit of a provocateur......but are we talking about hunting (for that is surely what we are talking about) in the name of salving our hunger or in the name of sport? And if in sport, is that any more moral than raising and penning animals in unbearable conditions?

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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Ian Sutton » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:04 pm

Rogov
I don't hunt, but see no problem in it at all for food reasons.
Hunting for sport is not something I would support

The harder question comes when sport and 'vermin control' coincide. Personally I don't buy into hunting for sport full stop. If vermin control is needed, then paid experts without all the frippery (aka 'tradition') ought to be able to do a fine job.

Reminds me of a museum, 300 yards from where I used to live in Brighton. One guy had amassed an amazing collection of stuffed animals from his shooting safari's in Africa. You name it, he shot it. When presented with these artifacts, the council had a quandary and in the end elected to keep them as a 'natural history' museum.

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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Robert Reynolds » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:22 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:At the risk of being just a wee bit of a provocateur......but are we talking about hunting (for that is surely what we are talking about) in the name of salving our hunger or in the name of sport? And if in sport, is that any more moral than raising and penning animals in unbearable conditions?

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I have been a deer hunter since the age of thirteen, and while there always has been an element of sport in it (after all, I believe the original definition of "sport" pertained to hunting), any deer killed was/is butchered for the freezer (what didn't get eaten at camp, anyway). If I or my companions bagged a buck with impressive antlers, they would go to the taxidermist. I have two mounts on my livingroom wall now.

I, like any ethical hunter, disapprove of those folks who only hunt for the trophy. I won't get into a long-winded debate about the ethics of hunting here, but hunting is far more ethical a way to obtain meat for the table than the factory farms that supply the grocers.

I grew up rather poor, and there were a few times that the only meats on the table were game, or fried fatback (salted pork belly).
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:20 am

Robert, Hi.....

Because I consider human beings omnivorous creatures and that meat is for many an important part of our diet, I fully understand and agree with the concept of hunting in order to place meat on the table. I also agree that hunting can be perceived in part or in whole as a sport. My question deals entirely with the morality of hunting when taken entirely as a sport and that regardless of whether we then eat the meat or not.

I agree that this thread is not the ideal place to enter a debate on the morality of hunting as sport. One day perhaps, either over a glass of wine or other potable beverage we will enter into our debate.

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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Carl Eppig » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:26 am

Forty eight summers ago I attended the summer session at College' International de Cannes. It was $90 for room, board, and tuition (I was not a rich kid). They served the best institutional food I've ever enjoyed, and it included horse at least once a day.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Charlie Dawg » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:30 pm

As far as eating horse meat I have to answer yes. Though not in it’s pure form but as a part of salami, and I have to say it was the best salami I ever had, specifically because it had horse meat in it. As far as debate of morality, I think people are fooling them selves. The cows, goats, lambs in my opinion are no different than a horse. My grand father had a pet goat. He, the goat, was smarter than many dogs, extremely obedient and devoted. Pigs are proven to be extremely smart and are easy to train. So unless person is vegetarian or would not eat that kind of meat for religious reasons, or simply doesn’t like the taste, I do not buy the humane reasons behind. Ok, I’ll buy it when it comes to eating dogs.
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Shel T » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:06 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:Horse meat is prized in Mexico and parts of the Caribbean; is easy to find throughout all of France; and is at its most popular in the area of Verona where, together with donkey meat it is considered one of the regional specialties. Horse steak is also the most traditional offering at the Harvard University Facutly Club.

Me, I've had it - even sought it out - in all of those places and enjoyed it thoroughly when well prepared.

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Rogov


If you've been to France and dined there, chances are you've ingested and probably enjoyed some horsemeat, maybe without knowing it.
And those Harvardites, (or would that be Harvardtonians or Harvardians...) such iconoclasts!
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Re: Culinary Poll #005: Horses and Donkeys On The Menu

by Daniel Rogov » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:51 pm

Shel, Hi...

Indeed, my first encounters with horse meat came about when living in Paris as a student, when the boucheries chevalines provided a far more reasonably priced selection of meats than did most other butchers. Truth is, I enjoyed the meat not only because it was inexpensive but because of the hint of sweetness that was to be found in either fine cuts of steak or in the ground meat. And indeed, horsemeat sausages were a staple for many.

Today one will find high quality horsemeat in many supermarkets as well as on the menus of quite a few bistros and even one or two very up-market restaurants. And indeed, as you imply, often served "as" beef.

I also recall meeting an aunt of mine in Mexico City and there dining on what she called "the specialty of the house". She enjoyed her meal thoroughly but then made the mistake of asking the waiter from what cut of beef her steak had come. When he said horse and not beef she turned a quick green, made a rapid exit from the restaurant there to be sick on the sidewalk. Ah well…not everybody's cup of bouillion.

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