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Weekly Blog. 14th -20th January 2013 Horsing Around with our Food

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Millions of people long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy afternoon”. (Susan Ertz)

There is a small and barely perceptible lengthening these mornings where by 8 o clock there is a shift from ink black to a light indigo sky. These rainy January evenings are still spent in hibernation mode. In that gap where it seems that the world is holding it’s breath waiting for the onslaught of the year to really get going I sit with Gingernut the cat on my knee draped with a leopard spotted throw which I am sure Gingernut thinks of  as some huge and ancestral cat. I amuse myself with photographing him in my version of “Fifty Shades of Cuteness”









I have been on a couple of great walks this week  in County Sligo and Leitrim with the Sligo Walking Club. One was out near Mullaghmore,out to place called Mermaid Cove. We stopped along the Sligo/Bundoran road where the Bunduff river crosses. This is a prolific little salmon river with lots of rapids that opens out into the sea. We walked along the side of this river passing the weir where the salmon are meant to leap up. Despite the mud it was like so much of the north-west – a secret beautiful haven where dippers perched on a rock amidst the rapids and flew away at our approach. For so many years I have whizzed up and down the Sligo/Bundoran road completely missing this piece of heaven. That is why I love living here in the northwest – to me heaven is eternally discovering those magical, hidden places. We reached the mouth of the river at the coast and turned left to walk along spongy grass at the cliff edge towards Mermaid Cove.

We saw what was thought to be a cormorant which sparked a discussion on the difference between cormorants and shags. Cormorants are black with a pale throat and mainly coastal but will sometimes come inland. Shags are smaller and slimmer with forward curling crest when breeding and are never seen inland.


Later in the walk I was surprised to see   a snipe scatter out from the field in which we were walking, flying low and bulky like a heavily loaded small plane.

The big news of the week was the horse meat or as I like to call it the Chevalgate scandal. It appears that what were meant to be 100% beef beefburgers actually contained traces of horse meat. So there is a lot of hand wringing and investigation going on and sparking debates on what actually goes into processed foods etc , the cultural aspects of eating horse meat and should food safety standards be limited to safety or also cover if food does actually contain “what it says on the tin” or is extra stuff being shoved in there unbeknown to us all in the name of trying to get away with putting the least amount of the more expensive items such as beef and yet being able to get away with calling it a 100% beef burger. And of course there are the jokes:

“ Went to check the expiry date on my beefburgers in the fridge and…….. THEY’RE OFFFFF”

“ Would be a bit worried about eating horse meat – might give you the trots.”

Actually it was not just horse meat discovered in the burgers but also pork which will distress many Muslims but this aspect seems to have been somewhat sidelined in the whole debate.

I was put off eating too much processed food when I read a couple of books about  10 years ago called Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and Fatland by Greg Critser.







After reading them I could never look at something like a chicken nugget again without having visions of whole chickens being pushed through food mincers and coming out all nugget shaped – bones, gristle, beak, legs etc, etc all contained within this ostensibly tasty, juicy, golden nugget Yuk! Saying that I love a certain fast food chain but limit myself to having the occasional burger and fries as a treat.

On my side I get most of my meat from the local butchers in Manorhamilton. I like the white board up the wall in the butcher there which gives the number etc of the cow/sheep   most recently slaughtered. In my mind I am comforted that this is not a nameless beast going through a mincer but almost like a sign on a grave stone – the beast has if not a name but a number and is thus acknowledged as having lived in some way. Or may be I am just being baa (get it!) humbug?

The Wolf Credo
Respect the elders
Teach the young  
Cooperate with the pack
Play when you can
Hunt when you must
Rest in between
Share your affections
Voice your feelings
Leave your mark
(Del Goetz)  


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