Mum, can we have pony patties for dinner?!?
Ah, pony patties, donkey dunkers, ninny nuggets, horse hamburgers – the European horse meat scandal sure has opened up a whole new range of treats for home cooks and Master Chef contestants to add to their repertoire…maybe without even knowing.
Palomino pies, Shetland sausages, Thoroughbred T-bone…these dishes just roll off the tongue like Frumpy Old Feedlot Friesians, Caged Chicken Casserole and Stalled Sow Stew. Maybe in a back room in a McDonalds somewhere, a young executive is dreaming up a Quarter-Horse burger as a summer sister species promotion for the Quarter-Pounder.
The thing is, this is just the tip of the frozen meal iceberg. And it’s the best thing since sliced mixed-species salami to wake regular people up to the fact that our dinner tables may be laden…but with what we don’t really know.
Compared to a century ago, we Westerners spend just a fraction of our budgets on food…and we whinge about every cent of it. We watch shows like My Kitchen Rules with no thought to Nature’s rules. And now we’re serving up microwaved Hors D’Oeuvres that might actually be Horses D’oovers! We turn a blind eye to the mass suffering of animals; to the rampant use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides; to the fact that farmers earn much less and commit suicide more often than their white collar city counterparts.
We’ve trusted big business and governments with our short-term appetites, never questioning the long-term stakes of minute-meals and cheap food. From animal welfare issues to massive use of transport fuels, petrochemical packaging to nutrition-less calories, food flies around the globe as fast as we lose the earth’s topsoil to erosion.
It’s an issue people and we can’t just flambe’ it and make it go away.
It’s time we became citizens again, not just consumers. That means supporting local farmers, growing more of our own food, setting up community gardens, taking an interest in nutrition, buying organic and less processed, eating less meat or not any at all. It’s actually lots of fun, really delicious…and at least you know what you’re getting!
Check out my book: Honeycomb Kids: Big Picture Parenting for a Changing World and to Change the World for ideas on how to get your family started on a brave new life and eating adventure. (It’s available in bookstores & online).
Oh, and enjoy your dinner!