Horse Meat: To eat or not to eat?

Horses have played an important role throughout history. During the turbulent periods, many wars and battles were fought on horse back. During peaceful times, horses were used for transportation and leisure. Horses were hunted by the indigenous people of Argentina and Chile after they were introduced by the conquistadors during the age of exploration. Mongolians have a long history of utilizing mare's milk as a beverage as well as making alcoholic beverages and cheeses out of it. Even Napoleon's army was said to have eaten the meat of horses that died in battle. But times have changed. We now see horses as friends, as pets, as an animal with a soul; we humanized them. Horses now live in ranches and are better groomed and maintained than most household pets. Their status have been elevated to healers as "Equine Therapy" became increasingly popular in helping individuals with emotional and psychological issues.

Sitting at a fairly touristy restaurant in Ljubljana, Slovenia, clutching on to the above precedents, my husband and I stared at the menu listing "horse steak" for a long time. The menu lists the size of the meal and the price, so you know how much money you've wasted if you don't like eating it, but It doesn't tell you what it will taste like or how it will affect your conscious after consuming it. Another 10 minutes of small talk went by between the two of us, the whole while avoiding the subject of horse meat, I guess we were both waiting for the other to give in and make a decision. Finally, my husband can take no more of my beating around the bushes.

"I'm going to order the horse meat", he announced.

"OK, and I will order the vegetable soup", I replied thinking it will be a comforting choice in case this meal went totally wrong.

What an adventuresome couple we are! (sarcasm implied) Upon hearing the waiter suggest that the horse steak would taste best if done medium rare, we almost backed out of ordering it. (insert sarcasm) I mean is it not adventurous enough to eat horse meat from a restaurant in a country that I have only heard of when I started planning this trip a year ago, but we should eat it half raw? Now you're asking too much of us.

"Are you sure you want to do this? This is only the second day of our trip. We don't want to get sick now." I told my husband in Mandarin so the waiter couldn't understand us.

"We can't back out now, Honey. We don't want them to think that us Chinese people are wussies and not worldly." he replied in Mandarin.

"OK, we'll show the Slovenians how worldly and gastronomically adventurous we Chinese people can be." I told him half jokingly.

When the Horse steak arrived at our table, I felt at ease by the presentation of it because it looks no different from a beef steak at your ordinary steak house. I let my husband try first for he's usually the braver one when it comes to food.

"Wow, this is actually really good." He burst out surprisingly.

Really...now I HAVE to try it! I cut a decent size piece and quickly shoved it in my mouth before I can change my mind. It tastes slightly sweet. extremely tender despite the lack of fat and less gamey than I thought it would be, but more flavorful than a fillet Mignon. As beef is my favorite meat, I was shocked to find that horse meat actually taste better. Wow! Look at us now. gulping beer and eating horse meat while conversing about scenic towns of Eastern Europe. This is what I call "Refined barbarianism". What a proud moment that was.

After a very satisfying meal, all issues of horse meat eating were forgotten as we were attacked by a major wave of food coma and jet lag. So as to the right and wrong of eating horse meat, we will leave that debate to you.

Restaurant info:
Sokol Restaurant
Ljubljana, Slovenia

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