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February 19, 2013

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nick s

It's not unsavvy PR to be the first to say "well, we'll eat dobbinburgers" in the hope that you'll get a donation of as-not-yet-proven-to-be-dobbinburgers instead.

It's pretty bloody depressing to see the supply-chain (and class) distinction between "barely meat" and "not meat at all".

john b

IIRC it's legit to advertise horse as "meat", the problem comes when you advertise it as "beef". On processed meat products solely advertised as "meat", horse is, I suspect a step up from whatever's currently in there.

("Rat au vin - it's a rat, that's been run over by a van")

dsquared

On processed meat products solely advertised as "meat", horse is, I suspect a step up from whatever's currently in there

I asked an Indian restaurateur this one. "Meat", on an English menu, is almost always mutton. British people won't buy mutton because they associate it with poverty. "Lamb", on a menu, is also often mutton.

johnf

I like both horse and mutton. I have to eat the 100% horse abroad and go to halal butchers for the mutton.

Why not just label it and sell it? Round here the whole thing's treated as a joke.

godoggo

Oh, I thought I was being blocked. Still nothing to say, though.

gastro george

IIRC, most "lamb" in India is actually goat, for similar reasons.

Leonard Hatred

If I've been eating mutton all this time then I love mutton. And apparently also horse!

Igor Belanov

Some people do have a ridiculously squeamish attitude to meat. Others would be perfectly willing to eat honestly labelled horse, mutton, goat etc., especially if it was available more cheaply than the 'traditional' meats. Cheap meat is often no different in quality and superior in taste compared to expensive types. Give me pig's or lamb's liver over chicken any day.

jamie

("Rat au vin - it's a rat, that's been run over by a van")

Well you're opening a whole new can of worms there.

ajay

It's certainly being treated as a joke in France. I was in a French restaurant last week and the menu included a (recently added) insert with the names of all the cuts of meat - "selle d'agneau", "escalope de veau", "filet de boeuf" and so on - connected by arrows to different areas of an outline drawing of a horse.

belle le triste

My friend Pete was offered "Mock Dog" when he was on holiday in Vietnam (and ate it).

chris y

Did he find out what went into "Mock Dog"? Or was it just the chef standing there saying, "Call yerself a dog? Yer a pussy cat. I've seen better teeth on a canary..."

dsquared

Mutton, would be my guess

belle le triste

I think he didn't find out -- iirc he was somewhere where no one spoke good english -- but I'll check when I next see him.

In the book I have about insect-based cuisine (Man Eating Bugs by Peter Menzel and Faith D' Aluisio ), the question "what does it taste like" is invariably either answered by "like chicken" or "like egg".

John b

When dealing with Indian food outside India, the added problem is that "mutton" in Indian English means "goat" not "old sheep".

nick s

Cheap meat is often no different in quality and superior in taste compared to expensive types. Give me pig's or lamb's liver over chicken any day.

And there's where another bit of weird class stuff kicks in -- what used to be "an offally good way to feed yourself through the week" is now "nose-to-tail eating" courtesy of Fergus Henderson and Hugh Poshy-Poshingstall, while the supermarkets have supplanted the standalone butchers' shops and prefer things that sit nicely on a tray. It's inverted snobbery all the way down these days.

Matt

In Vietnam, mock *insert meat here* is normally some soy/wheat gluten combination that attempts to replicate primarily the texture of that meat when cooked in a certain way. So there's mock steamed chicken, mock fried chicken, mock roasted chicken etc. There aren't all that many total vegetarians (at least as far as I know) but a lot of people abstain on days of significance. And there's a bunch of beliefs/superstitions that concern food and fortune eg. students don't like to eat specific foods before exams. Mock meat's one way of tiding yourself over if you're still intent on enjoying your favourite dishes.

Dog meat's apparently a little touch and go, enough so that if you're going to eat it, you save it for as close to the end of a lunar month as possible to minimise any incurred bad luck's chances of taking effect before the new month wipes the slate clean. I've noticed many restaurants specialising in dog meat don't even bother opening at the start of lunar months because no one wants to risk it for the whole 30 days.

belle le triste

nick s:
It isn't purely inverted snobbery: cuts like oxtail, calves' foot or pig knuckle require significantly more cooking time (also a certain amount of patient attention if you don't have fancy equipment). For many working families now, there may not be anyone at home to put in that time (unless the family eats at midnight); even for families with one or more unemployed grown-up (deemed able for the sake of argument now and then to stay attentively near a slow-cooking pot from mid-afternoon), the cost just of the extra gas or electricity usage could be daunting.

Matt:
Yes, the mock duck and mock abalone I've tried were definitely something like that. But that was in London (and from a cheap tin bought by me).

nick s

belle le triste: point taken, but where do you even find those cuts these days? Not at Tesco, most likely: instead, the market for offal and tough cuts is increasingly split between Borough Market and "ethnic" butchers serving a population that has yet to discover the delights of the supermarket frozen section.

Phil

On a regional note, Morrison's are good for that stuff. I've seen pig's trotters, even.

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