What's wrong with a bit of horse?

horse The Kyrgyz share a 'special relationship' with the horse

While some of us squirm or gag at the thought that horse might have passed our lips disguised as a lasagne or burger, others at the BBC are wondering what all the fuss is about.

Staff from the Central Asian Service have been trading recipes in the latest edition of The Fifth Floor for horsemeat sausage, deemed a delicacy in their homelands.

Uzbek senior producer Diloram Ibrahimova tells the weekly World Service programme that her raw horse and spices combo should be simmered for two hours - cook it any faster and the sausage will explode - to produce a 'luxury' sausage with an 'amazing' taste.

And it has added benefits, she confides - eating the nutritious treat is believed to boost a man's sexual prowess.

Special relationship

Gulnara Kasmambet, Kyrgyz senior producer, takes a more holistic approach. She says hers is a nation of nomads who revere the circle of life and share a 'special relationship' with the horse.

'In the west, you say, How can you eat the horse which is your best friend. That's exactly the reason why Kyrgyz eat it,' she says, 'because they understand that everything in nature should be utilised.'

The whole process is reverential, she insists, with the animal slaughtered amid prayers and thanks and eaten only at celebrations, remembrance days and funerals.

'When you present it you are showing the utmost honour to your guests,' she says, while the horse, in being eaten, 'has fulfilled its mission in life'.

But if they're bemused by Europeans who get on their high horse and threaten ready-meal revolt, it's only making the BBC journalists hanker for their favourite dish from home.

'Right now I wouldn't mind one or two slices,' drools Diloram.

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