Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Frozen Beef? Neigh, Lad

A Big Moke?
As we learn more and more about the processed food we have been eating and the deception - knowing or otherwise - practised upon us the consumers, the news is unremittingly bleak.

It now turns out that what we thought was horsemeat might in fact be donkey meat - a fraud within a fraud. Will this abuse of our trust never end? I fear not. Yet all is not bad news.

I am diametrically opposed to all forms of organised religion, as readers of my blog are probably aware. For me, religion is nothing more than an insidious means of controlling our thoughts and actions based on the non-existent rewards or punishments to be reaped in a completely unproven afterlife, while our spiritual "leaders" wheedle money out of our pockets. This  money would evidently be better spent on the material comforts of our present existence and, if we have money to spare, on the comfort of those around us.

Strangely, therefore, I find myself in the novel position of shopping in halal butchers' shops. At least there I know that lamb is lamb, that beef is beef, that chicken is chicken and that (were they to sell it, and please forgive my ignorance) horse is horse. This is a guarantee far greater than that of our local supermarkets because the halal butcher would not only be risking his profits but his very soul if he sold non-halal meat to his customers. In fact, as far as quality and price goes, the beef that I have bought there is better by far than anything to be found elsewhere in the city, as indeed is the service.

There are quite a few halal butchers here in Seville. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there are no kosher ones. If there were, I would probably go there too.

Second time round?
I would not, however, eat a kebab (or kybob as they called them in the 19th century) because recently I discovered that the cylinder of "meat" that we see revolving in our local kebab house has probably been imported frozen from Germany and, as a processed meat product, may not be all that it says it is. In fact, the Sevillian preference is for "beef", as lamb is not very popular here. There are obviously  proper, home-made kybobs where customers can actually see the individual stacked cuts of meat revolving, but in Seville we invariably see unprepossessing cylinders of preprocessed goo, looking for all the world as if they have already passed through the digestive tract of a giant.

On an ecological note, now that we have discovered that we have been unconsciously eating horse and donkey meat, perhaps we should now consider eating kangaroo. I am not being facetious - when I was a child in the early 1960's in Liverpool we often had tinned kangaroo stew and it was delicious - like beef but a lot cheaper. Numerous studies have shown that kangaroos do not fart methane and therefore do not contribute to the greenhouse gases in the same devastating way that beef cattle do. The meat is also a lot leaner and, as a result, healthier. If we eat unlabelled horse and donkey, then why not labelled, cheaper and environmentally-friendly kangaroo?

The only problem with halal and kosher butchers is that they obviously do not sell pork, and what non-Muslim carnivore doesn't enjoy their bacon, pork chops, sausages or cured ham? At the moment, I think that the present substitute meat scandals do not apply to pork.


... What do cannibals call human meat?

Long Pig.

Perhaps we need to start checking up on our crematoria. I hope I am only speculating wildly.   Soylent Green, anyone?


  1. The only problem with halal and kosher butchers is that they obviously do not sell pork

    No, that is not the problem. The problem is the abominably cruel way in which these two religions kill their meat animals, bleeding them to death. I know many meat eaters who oppose them and boycott them for that reason.

    Not that I would praise British and European abattoirs because plenty of cruelty takes place in those horrid institutions also. In fact, the whole meat industry is so barbaric that many meat eaters would be sickened into becoming vegetarian if they allowed themselves to see the truth. We are conditioned from an early age to avoid recognizing the reality.

    If the horsemeat scandal opens a few people's eyes, then it will have done a good thing. As far as I know, no one has died or even become ill as a result of the contamination and in that regard, a lot of the hysterical condemnation rings hollow. People who complain at being duped ought to take a closer look at the food industry and see how far the deception actually runs. If it ended with the horsemeat, we could count ourselves fortunate indeed. No one will look, of course, and the horsemeat scandal will become just one more 9-day wonder, forgotten by politicians and public alike as soon as the media grow tired of it and find another story to inflate into money-making outrage.

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  3. (First comment removed for re-editing).
    As you point out in the first two paragraphs, we meat eaters would almost certainly become vegetarians if they knew how the animals were slaughtered - albeit "humanely", or according to halal and kosher requirements. I freely admit that in this case I am a moral coward.

    The horsemeat scandal is indeed scandalous. More because of the deception practised upon the public than for the health risk and, of course, because it may be sypmtomatic of other more far-reaching deceptions that might be a potential threat to health.

    As numerous pundits have pointed out recently, the best way to avoid such problems is to avoid eating ready meals and to cook more at home. Home cooking and family meals are, in my opinion, one of the greatest joys of life, with health benefits - both physical and emotional - for all.