Foods We Can’t Have.
I’ve been thinking about food lately. Okay, I’ve been thinking MORE about food. Especially foods we can’t get. Take avocados, for example.
One day before the USA sat down to scream at their favored football team, laugh at commercials with budgets rivaling feature films, attempt to dance along with the halftime show for rapidly-aging millennials, or consume body weight in guacamole and hot wings, the US Government banned avocado imports. This might have been more devastating if the avocado industry hadn’t already sold the 67 million pounds of guacamole avocados necessary to fuel Superbowl Sunday. But still… It’s like the government announcing on New Year’s Eve that champagne imports will be banned next year.
Foods we shouldn’t have.
My dog’s policy was to eat anything that might possibly be food, might have once been in packaging with pictures of food, or on the off-chance she would miss some food-related opportunity.
My children pretty much only ate beige foods (french fries, cheerios, peanutbutter) until they were adults.
I don’t eat some foods for religious reasons. Some I don’t eat because I made that mistake once (okra!) and I’m not that stupid. But there are still some I won’t eat because… well, ick. (That category generally includes things with more than four legs, with no legs at all, and things I’ve kept as pets.)
Foods we wouldn’t have. (Right?)
When it comes to horses, though, some people still have a different approach. A few years back there was a sting operation in Spain in which over 65 people were arrested in a horsemeat racket bust. Their crime wasn’t that they were selling horsemeat, but that the horsemeat sold was “unfit for human consumption”.
Apparently, horsemeat itself is still a go. In fact, you can go to the Dutch restaurant Keuken van het Ongewenst Dier (The Kitchen of Unwanted Animals) and enjoy their “My Little Pony Burger”. In addition to serving as blog fodder, they see their mission as the ultimate in recycling. I could not make this stuff up.
In other horsemeat related news–
Some have wondered why people in the UK get upset about the possibility that their food contains horsemeat. The British have no problem eating cow, chicken, lamb – usually with some form of pig in/on each of them. One theory is that horses, like dogs, are companion animals and you wouldn’t eat your Mr. Snookums. Another is that the horse has a long history as a transportation provider, and you wouldn’t eat your Honda.
But let’s face it – the nation which is home to the ever-popular chip butty (basically, a supersized bunfull of fries), spotted dick (not what it sounds like), blood pudding (just what it sounds like), and haggis (trust me, you don’t want to know), is not squeamish.
Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Sherlock Holmes/Arthur Conan Doyle.
I think the actual truth is that they’re saving the horses for an emergency. I realized this when we visited Yorkshire’s Bolton Castle. The current owners of Bolton Castle trace their family back to Sir Richard Scropes, builder of the original castle in 1378. Because Reality TV hadn’t been invented yet, medieval English entertainment consisted of surviving the Black Death and choosing which political team to support. Stakes were high.
[NOTE: As perspective, if the US followed the medieval leader-selection trope, Donald Trump would have become president by murdering his close relative, Hillary Clinton, and betrothing her daughter to his son. He would then have imprisoned the leaders of the Democratic Party in the Washington Monument, beheaded the CEOs of the New York Times and Washington Post, accused the Chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a witch, and either burned the houses of every Democrat in congress, or arranged marriages between their minor children and highly-placed members of his party.]
Overall, Sir Scropes’ descendants were pretty good at picking the winning team, if you don’t count the times a rejected king burned down the castle. Or all the beheadings. But a true low point came during the Civil War in 1644 when the young owner of the castle signed with Team King. The Parliamentarians promptly laid siege to the castle for the next six months. How did Bolton resist for so long? You guessed it. When starvation loomed, they ate every horse in the place.
Will history repeat itself?
I only mention this because I live on an island off the western coast of Scotland. Currently, our government-subsidized lifeline ferry system is in meltdown, with at least a third of scheduled sailings cancelled, more than half their vessels past or approaching their 30-year expected lifespan, and their two replacement vessels hundreds of millions of pounds over budget and more than five years overdue. Among other things, this means the islands are running out of food. Shelves are empty in the shops, and restaurants closing their doors.
Yes, there are lots of horses and even more sheep on Arran. And a unicorn has been spotted in the fairy glen. But… This is Scotland. Dogs and horses are the only proper topics of conversation outside of the weather. I just hope we don’t reach the point on Arran where those conversations involve recipes…