I’ve been thinking about the recent horsemeat scandal. I don’t know why it bothers me. I’ve never really had any more to do with horses than I have cows but somehow it doesn’t feel right. What is it that makes one animal ok to eat and another taboo? If you take emotion out of it, there’s nothing wrong with eating horse; the meat is high in protein, has twice the levels of iron as beef and it’s significantly higher in vitamin B12 and omega 3 fats, making it a far healthier option (unless it’s contaminated by medication).
My issue is that I like to know what’s in my food and I feel cheated. We’re being lied to by food producers. I don’t eat meat often; when I do I go for good quality, organic joints. I want to see what I’ll be eating. For this reason I never eat sausages, psychologically I cannot get my head around the fact I could be eating random parts of the animal. I also never buy burgers, having come across grissle and even bone (or perhaps it was tooth) in the past. I make burgers from scratch, using fresh meat that I either ask the butcher to mince, or stick in a food processor myself.
The shocking reality of the scandal is not that horse has been used in beef products, but that it was not labelled and consumers have been duped. Our food is already often contaminated by chemicals such as preservatives, additives, stabilizers and colours. But we are now faced with a situation whereby no one is quite sure what else could be in there.
Personally I think this is a good thing. I have read that butcher’s sales are up 30 percent and I imagine there’s a slump in processed foods. If people start thinking about what they’re eating and buying fresh ingredients we’re likely to become a healthier nation.
This may sound like a more expensive option, but meat isn’t something that should be eaten every day. If you do eat red meat, the ideal is to have about two small potions (roughly the size that would fit into the palm of your hand) a week. This is because red meat is highly inflammatory and when cooked at high temperatures (such as grilling, frying or barbecuing), generates powerful carcinogens. Processed meats are even worse – virtually all contain dangerous compounds. The World Cancer Research Fund has even gone so far as to say no amount of processed meat is ‘safe’ after evaluating the findings of hundreds of studies linking processed meats to cancer.
In our society we are presented with cheap packaged meals meaning everyone can afford meat every day. This demand has led to a situation whereby producers are ever trying to cut costs using cheaper, less nutritious ingredients and adding chemicals to create flavours. And we wonder why there is such a dramatic increase in diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
On to the bolognese
My partner’s nephew, who has never knowingly eaten a vegetable in his life, has been duped by this sauce for years. He recently discovered the actual ingredients – I expected him to shun it immediately yet he still counts this bolognese as one of his favourites, despite the vegetable content (although attempts to get him to even try one of the ingredients in isolation have been met with severe resistance).
This sauce is somewhat of a staple in our house as it contains so many nutrients and can be made in bulk and frozen for speedy meals. The ‘meaty’ texture actually comes from the cauliflower and beans. I do sometimes add meat but you don’t need to and the beans offer a good source of protein so it’s really a taste thing. For fussy eaters it’s a great way to pack in loads of vegetables and beans. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe as its intended to be made in bulk and frozen for quick, easy dinners when you find yourself staring at an empty fridge.
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