Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I am a proud carnivore. I prefer to eat meat at every single meal if possible because the meal just doesn’t seem complete without it. Traveling through Europe can pose some difficult problems at times in regards to eating the way you are used to because people always have a different take on what normal is. I don’t like baked beans for breakfast, I prefer my fish without the eye looking up at me, and I believe there are just some animals that should be for pet and recreational use only.

Coming to Italy is usually a safe bet for good meals that will be enjoyable. You will always get your choice of pasta followed by your choice of meat and you will end up satisfied because if they do one thing well in Italy, it’s eat. These people know what’s important in life and they indulge to the fullest.

Which is why I felt no trepidation when, after finishing off my plate of tortellini, I was brought a piece of meat with some veggies on the side. I had asked for the pork option (as they offered me that or fish), and while I knew the meat sitting in front of me didn’t look like the other white meat, I felt no reason to worry. It looked like beef. They probably just ran out of the pork. So I took a bite. “Funny tasting beef,” I thought. And the aftertaste stuck with you. It definitely tasted different than beef. I never have worked as a food critic so I feel unable to describe it properly, but there was some sort of natural spice that lingered in you mouth...a muskiness almost. It most certainly DID NOT taste like chicken. After a few more bites my friend sitting across from me mentioned the same thing. It was obvious that we hadn’t gotten pork, but we voiced aloud whether this was beef. Perhaps it was veal, we concluded. I don’t ever really order veal but I know it’s in the same family and all so maybe the difference of not being a fully-grown cow is what I was tasting. I then tried to remember what I had seen when I glanced over the regular menu to see if it could possibly anything else. I remembered seeing deer, so I threw that out as an option. I wasn’t too keen on eating Bambi, but I felt like it wouldn’t be the end of the world. People do eat deer in America, though it’s a more obscure choice of protein. We all agreed that eating deer wouldn’t be so bad.

I finished my plate, as did the two friends that were with me. In other countries you don’t send dishes back like we do so freely in the U.S. and if they end up sending out the wrong dish it’s more of a hassle to try and explain that to the waiter who barely speaks English as it is, then to just eat whatever they bring you, and besides, they don’t really check back to ask how your meal is anyway. On the way out though, I stopped our waitress and did my best charades impression to try and ask what our meat was. After a moment of not understanding she finally gets what I’m asking her. Ahhh… it is horse. I just smiled politely and walked away.


Anne said...

I didn't know eating horse was so popular in Italy... Learned something new :)
I traveled in Latin America for six months and they offered me a lot of strange things to eat. Jungle rodent, guinea pig, crickets, worms... Luckily I am a vegetarian and said no to everything ;-)

anonymousnupe said...

Are you sure she understood what you were pantomiming? Maybe she thought playing charades as one leaves a restaurant is an American custom and she was simply playing along? Or maybe she was saying your voice sounded a little hoarse? Hey, I’m tryin’ here, to help mitigate any psychological damage the thought of dining on Seabiscuit might have inflicted on you. On the other hand, I'll pretty much try anything once, and meat is pretty much meat to me. Don't end up stranded with me on a barren, deserted island! Everybody, uhm, I mean thing, taste like chicken then! Now I gotta go Google (or Bing) "Italian horse dishes."

Bianca said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I think I just vomited in my mouth.

Officially a vegan for life,

Anonymous said...

before in french the people eat horse
but that is rare now

You do not say this if you love meat
i eat horse
When I was a child I thought it was good but it is true that it was always the image of the beautiful horse in head
in france the people eat stag, boar ,frog leg lol
it is a matter of culture and taste
i adore the meat but i prefere the beef
sam de face book

Jackie E. said...

Hey Bri, when I was dating that French guy, I went to visit him in Paris and they served horse at his house for dinner. They told me it was horse in advance but I didn't want to be impolite so I ate it but.....I.DID.NOT.LIKE.IT! Waay too rich in blood and like you said bad after taste. So it was a bad decision to eat that and a bad decision to date that guy, lol!!!

#2 Fan said...

Tough bite to swallow huh? LOL

Anonymous said...

awwwwwsome way to go bri--folks gotta "man up" and be survivors--ill use the bathroom almost anywhere and ill eat any kinda meat--however all that strange brain tongue bulls balls tripe fish heads-pancreas--other random organ meat--nope the closest thing to horse meat here in the states is a rare pice of hanger steak--its the diaphram muscle of a bovine--well hope your well--vegetarians suck!--joe p. vegas/dc

j buck said...


I have been to Italy many times (well, several), and they do NOT have good cattle or the know how to prepare a good steak! Each time, I ask, how is the steak, (dumb question), and I get, its the best in the world (da me!)! More like rawhide cut off a very warn saddle is more like it, with no taste, no fat on it at all which gives it, its flavor! Forget the steak in Italy and most meats for that matter!

However, if you get the chance to order Rabbit? Oh my my my my my! How awesome that is! Yummy times infinity! Other than that, stick with the pasta's. You are going to lose weight in Italy, so you need to somehow find some protein with fat in it to keep you performing well. Even a Big Mac is gross in Italy. The meat has to be donkey or something.

I found eating in Italy to be challenging. You eat, but you really don't eat to our American standards. Maybe a good thing.

Take care

Aaron B. Brown said...

I believe one of the reasons why eating horsemeat in the US has never been acceptable has to do with vaccinations like tetanus being produced from the organs of horses. I don't know if this is still the case but apparently the consumption of horsemeat on a regular basis can render those vaccinations ineffective.

Sorry you had such a tough time in Berlin, just glad you didn't injure yourself. Good luck in your next big competition, I'll be rooting for ya. :-)

TrackMom said...

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