News came out earlier this week that horse meat could soon be butchered for food in the U.S. (though it's not exactly like slaughterhouses are going to pop up out of the blue). Horse meat is consumed in several large countries worldwide, but it remains quite the taboo in North America.
This past May, "Top Chef Canada" aired an episode in which the contestants had to cook with horse meat, which Food Network Canada called one of the most traditionally French foods. The episode was met with vehement protests, despite the fact that over 90,000 horses annually are slaughtered for meat in Canada. About five million horses are slaughtered in the top eight countries that eat horse meat. In 2006, the French consumed 25,380 metric tons.
So, what does it taste like?
Horse is a versatile meat that lends itself to a variety of preparations. It has more protein, and less fat than lean beef. It tastes somewhat like a mix between beef and venison. It can be a bit sweeter than other red meats, yet still possesses a dense meat flavor with a hint of gaminess.
In Parma, Italy, it is often eaten raw -- similar to beef tartare (same with Japan). Further north, in Verona, it is served as a stew. Horse meat is the basis of many Kazak dishes. Like other red meats, it can also be served as a roast, or ground up into a burger.