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Posts tagged ‘Horse meat’

Cooking from scratch

Stefano Hatfield is the editor of The i (the 20p a day cut down version of the Independent).  (I’m not mean – it’s just a time thing…).  With a name like his, he is, naturally, of mixed parentage – English dad, Italian mum.

I’m very interested in his take on the chattering classes views of the horse meat scandal.  “as the guard slips and they sneer at the poor for buying cheap frozen products”.  His mum (widowed twice and then bringing the kids up as a single parent) would cook in the art of cucina povera – cooking of the poor.

Some grown, some given

Some grown, some given

It isn’t rocket science to make the most of what you have.  Buying less, buying better quality and locally, and using it all with as little waste as possible could easily make your food spend much lower.

You may have to peel stuff, wash it and chop it up – but it is good fun.  Look, we all can and do cheat on occasions (although I do still laugh in the face of a sealed tray of mashed potato for £1.50).  There is a time and place for a ready meal, or something as part of a meal that just makes the whole thing easier – but most things can and should be cooked from scratch.  We don’t teach it enough in schools.  We don’t pick things up from our mums, because they have been convenienced out of the cooking habit too.

I read a review recently bemoaning the fact that most newer cook books don’t have sections on what to do with leftovers.  I beg to differ – mine does!  And has a chapter on The Four Day Chicken.  (Roast, Second roast micro-waved, risotto on day 3, and chicken soup day 4).  Check it on Amazon!  “(Can Men Cook?)”

New joke added below from a fun guy 🙂


Horse Meat

European suppliers “deliberately use cheaper meat to cut their costs”.  OK. That was the Independent’s headline.  It reminds me of the “Man Bites Dog editorial jibe.  Yes, dog bites man is not news.  Neither, I suspect, is this news actually news to anyone at all.

Prime horse flesh o too dear for burgers!

Prime horse flesh – too dear for burgers!


Not cheap - but proper!

Not cheap – but proper!


But then we get the entirely spurious offset into is “horse meat good or bad?”  Well, a lot of chefs love it; it was a standard meat up to 1930s in the UK.  It is widely eaten ‘abroad’.  But this really is irrelevant.  The producers of processed meat are using it and bits of pig because beef is expensive.  If you make a burger yourself from butchers own mince it will cost you about 75p each. (our butchers has a mincing machine – does yours?)  (Or do you do it yourself?)  So why do we think buying value level stuff at 5 to 10p each means we will not be swindled?

Tesco’s shares dropped £300 million on the news breaking.  The meat processing companies, Dalepak Hambleton in Yorkshire, Silvercrest and Liffey Meats in Ireland are likely to have  a difficult time, I assume.

Like all the spokespeople have said, there is no danger to the public – it is all perfectly safe to eat.

It is just that we have been duped for profit.

This episode begs a lot of questions for me.  (This could get political – turn away now if you might be offended…)

  1. Why do we not make the supermarkets label their meat – all of it – by the country of origin of the meat?  Successive governments have been lobbied out of legislating for this, I believe.  The producers seem to get around it by labeling the final processing plant’s country as the producer – what a terrible cop-out
  2. This is even more disturbing in these days of bird flu, mad cow disease, TB, swine flu, and foot and mouth disease.  Where is the bio-security when the whole of the mechanically recovered meat industry seems to work in the shadows?  If they are going to hide 29% of horse meat in a burger, are they going to be serious about animal welfare in the original producing area?
  3. Can’t we consider being self sufficient in meat as a five year plan?  Maybe there is room for barn production of beef cattle to an extent.  (Look – I bet you all like Danish bacon.  Visit Denmark.  You never see a pig.  It’s because they are all indoors.  They are happy, warm and well fed.)
  4. Why can’t more people cook from scratch?  The demise of Home Economics is probably the biggest culprit in this whole story.  If we knew how to cook, and how to use up left-overs, we would be healthier, throw away less and not have to buy ‘cheap’ food.  Our food bills would be less.

I know I am biased – but Can Men Cook is a good read and shows you how to cook from scratch.  End of advert.  End of rant.

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