Horse meat as food

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Boucherie chevaline, France

Horse meat is the culinary name for meat cut from a horse. It is slightly sweet, tender, low in fat, and high in protein. For the majority of mankind’s early existence wild horses were hunted as a source of protein. It is a major meat source in only a few countries, notably Central Asia, but it forms a significant part of the culinary traditions of many others, from Europe to South America to China. The top eight countries consume about 4.7 million horses a year. Because of the role horses have played as a companion and as a worker, it is a taboo food in many cultures. These historical associations, as well as ritual and religion, led to the development of the aversion to the consumption of horse meat. The horse is now given pet status by many in the western world, which further solidifies the taboo on eating its flesh. This avoidance of eating horse meat (and the loss of taste for it) is relatively modern, although it arises out of complex historical and cultural origins.

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