The United Kingdom likes to pretend that it doesn't get down with eating horse. Last year, it made a whole big fuss about a few (well, more than a few) errant morsels of horse flesh finding their way into frozen burgers, tinned beef, IKEA meatballs, meat pies, and other products—and subsequently, the mouths and bellies of consumers. Some "beef" patties were proven to be up to 29 percent pony, and purists were more than a little miffed. Regulations tightened, crime units were organized, and scientists buckled up to research stricter and more accurate methods of testing and identifying meat. But maybe this was the wrong approach. Maybe, some might suggest, the English and Irish should have lightened up, and exercised some resourcefulness. If horse meat is here, should we just invite it to stay?
Maybe the struggle is real, but that doesn't mean it has to be a struggle at all. There's no need to flip out and start buying tofu dogs and tremble at the thought of a little Black Beauty in your burger. Embrace it. Lick your chops. Discover the delicious, wholesome potential of equine jerky. At least, that's what Belgian sports nutrition company Muscle Food says.
Muscle Food has proudly released A Bag of Horse, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's a small bag of tasty horse flesh, just for you. Lightly seasoned with black pepper, vinegar, and coriander, and packed with 21 grams of protein,it's made from the haunches of happy Belgian horses—none of those dejected, fallen, drug-pumped racehorses that made their way into sketchy abattoirs last year. And the company is hoping that consumers might see it as a healthier alternative to junk food.
A rep (possibly trolling, though it's unclear) recently told the UK's Daily Mail, "Far too often, when people are peckish, they reach for something unhealthy such as a packet of crisps or chocolate biscuits. We say they should reach for a bag of horse—it's certainly the healthier option." To an extent, the spokesperson is right; horse meat is leaner than beef, free of preservatives, low-carb, and sugar-free. The same cannot be said for most things found in the common vending machine.
A Bag of Horse might be a bit of a novelty item for some—but then again, it might not. Muscle Food also sells horse steaks, meatballs, and sausages, and even a "Premium Horse Variety Selection," which it describes as "ideal for a MEGA refuel after a gruelling workout!" A Bag of Horse has a grabbier name than its fellow equine foods, but Muscle Food claims that after last year' scandal, it could barely keep any of its horse products in stock. Apparently, people are curious.
Maybe what rattled UK consumers in 2013 wasn't the horse itself; it was the sense of conspiracy. Consumers were the cuckold, but horse meat hardly seduced anyone. Instead, manufacturers made fools of everyone below them on the literal and figurative food chain: grocery chains, restaurants, and shoppers. Before the horse meat scandal hit, 69 percent of UK consumers trusted supermarkets; after, it was a mere 35 percent. Understandably, many people did not want to eat store-bought meat without knowing precisely what was in it, for the same reason that we're nervous about being told to shut our eyes and open our mouths.
But now that we're being offered some lean, Belgian-farmed, nontoxic horse, maybe it's time to eat horse on purpose. Hell, even the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association thinks that eating them is A-OK—and their group's explicit purpose is to save and chill with ponies.
So it might be time to get a grip, drop the Pringles, and scoop up A Bag of Horse. You know what they say; Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.