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Dobbin is a real delicacy in France; STRAIGHT TO THE POINT WITH THE KAIRDIFF KID

Byline: DanO'Neill

As someone who thought, when a sprog in Grangetown, that hors d'ouvres translated into 'orses' doofers, I can't understand why there's such a panic over what we're calling "the horse meat scandal".

Never figured out what part of a horse the doofer was, but we firmly believed it was on the menu in posh pubs like the Angel Hotel or the Royal. Ah, the innocence of youth.

But given the hysteria over perfectly palatable grub, I wondered what our Continental neighbours think of our horrified reaction. Only one way to find out. Ask my very own Continental neighbour...

Le brrrrinnnggg... le brrrrinnnggg... (Yes, the sound of a French telephone.) "Aloo. Izz me 'ere. M'soo 'Edde. Pierre 'Edde. Sacre bleu, izzat vous, Daniel, mom ami?" Yes, it was him, Pierre Hedde. Remember Pierre? After reading that bestseller A Year In Provence, he came to Cardiff to write his own opus, A Year In Splott. Only stayed a weekend, though. A weekend in Splott, he explained with a Gallic chuckle (le heh-heh, le heh-heh), felt like a year in Splott.

"Ah, Daniel, je suspects vous izz calling moi to gloat ovaire zat so-lucky victoire Pays de Galles 'ad against La Belle France, n'est-ce pas? Non? Instead eet izz about le viande de cheval vous wishes to parlez? Wot vous calls ze 'orsemeat?" "Oui," I said, slipping effortlessly into the lingo. "What do les citoyans of France say about our horror at the thought of nibbling on a nag, picking away at a pony?" "Well, we zink votre King Richard le Tres, tres populaire right now, we zink 'e 'ad it right. 'E would swap, as you say, 'is kingdom for ze 'orse. Roasted? Grilled? 'Oo knows? So why 'ave zings changed? We cannot understand it. We zink ze Rosbifs are ze 'ypocrites. We calls 'em les Rosbifs because zey eat la vache. So tell moi, Daniel, wot is le difference between ze cow and ze 'orse?" Well, Pierre, a cow never won the Derby or, come to think of it, your Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe. Nope, we do not regard a loser at Chepstow as next Sunday's roast.

"Ah, zat is your bad luck. Le cheval is, 'ow you say, tastier zan le rosbif an 'ealthier, too. In Pays de Galles, I see, vous 'ave ze big problem, les enfants are tres gros, 'uge. Instead of le food fast, zey should eat ze foods of 'ealth - les cuisses de grenouille, les escargots an' oui, le viande de cheval, ze meat of ze 'orse."

No, no Pierre. Our Cardiff kids would never scoff frogs' legs and snails. Mind you, they've probably been eating horsemeat for years in their burgers but no-one told 'em.

"An' no-one told us when we found our delicieux 'orseburgers were in reality les burgers de beef. But we ate zem just ze same. We are not so fussy, like wot vous are. You say 'ow lovely 'e is, ze little lamb in ze field. Zen you 'ave 'im wiz le mint sauce ze next day. You fall in love with Peppa le Pig on votre telly. Zen vous 'ave 'er oncle turned into le pork an' apple sausages."

Well, I suppose he's right. After all, as they say, one man's meat is another man's poison. The Chinese eat upwards of 1.7 million horses each year, as well as pooches and pussycats. Even Switzerland, the country our leaders aspire to be like, serves cat in plush restaurants - and makes coats out of the skins. And in this country during World War II there were queues outside shops advertising Horsemeat For Sale - no qualms then about chomping on dear old Dobbin.

"Zo zere vous go, Daniel. It ees vous 'oo are, 'ow you say, out of ze step. Zey eat ze 'orses all over ze world. An' Daniel, vous was right about ze 'orses' doofers. Oui, zere ees such a delicacy.

"In France an 'orse's doofer is zat part beneath ze tail which we say will doofer now while waiting for ze rump to roast."

And wiz - whoops, I mean with - what sounded suspiciously like another Gallic chuckle, Pierre Hedde hung up. Was he joking abut the horse's doofer? Who knows? At least, in Grangetown we'll believe him.

See also Page 9 AND FINALLY...

IT IS 900 years since St Malachi prophesied that the 112th pope would be the last pope of all, heralding the destruction of Rome and the arrival of the Antichrist, bringing what US fundamentalists call The End Times.

Benedict XVI is the 111th pontiff and his successor, the 112th, will be with us shortly.

The prophecy says that the last pope will be an Italian whose passing will bring The End.

So maybe the cardinals should select a very young African - just to be on the safe side.

Even Switzerland, the country our leaders aspire to be like, serves cat in plush restaurants


Horseflesh is an essential part of fine dining in many countries on the Continent
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 13, 2013
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