At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, March 15, 2013


In the first months after we moved to Valkenswaard, my mother happily discovered 'rookvleesch', which is the Dutch answer to smoked salmon. Rookvleesch is thinly sliced smoked meat, slightly salty, and a perfect foil for dense brown bread and cream cheese. Cream cheese, at that time, was an innovative 'American' luxury in Europe. Rookvleesch, on the other hand, was a working class standard.

I should mention that my mother's facility in the Dutch language was not quite up to par. She recognized many of the words -- Dutch, like English and the various Scandinavian tongues, is auch eine Germanische Sprache, and she had studied Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse -- but she often failed to grasp the particular shades of meaning, and the contextual webbing that surrounded the locutions.

Rookvleesch, she did not realize for over a year, is smoked horse meat.
I remember that year fondly. Lunch was often marvelous.

In California, consumption of horsemeat has been illegal for over a decade. Not only does this state have far more idiots than almost anywhere else, but there are also vast hordes of Vegans and smarmy food-puritans thundering across the urban landscape.

Many Californians are utterly horrified that people eat.
The nerve of those diners; it's SO not green!

The French, bless them, are not similarly cursed. You can probably still get veal and foie gras in France. As well as viande de cheval.

Horsemeat steaks, by the way, are wonderful when accompanied by a fine California red. Something cabernettish, or, if braised, a lovely Merlot.


Two horsemeat steaks, on the bone.
Half a cup of dark meat stock.
Two TBS capers.
Two TBS lemon juice.
A splash of red wine.
Salt, pepper, flour.
Olive oil, and butter.

Let the two steaks warm to room temperature before cooking. Season the meat with the salt, pepper, and a little flour, and rub with some olive oil while doing so. Let the meat stand for a while.
Put a drop of oil in the fry pan. Add the steaks, and sizzle till nicely browned on both sides but not overdone. Remove the meat to a platter. Then seethe the pan with the red wine, deglaze and scrape loose the crusties that may have formed, and add a pat of butter, along with the broth, capers, and lemon juice. Cook till glazed, which will take be three or four minutes.
Nap this over and around the steaks.
Garnish with some parsley.

It's delicious.

Horsemeat is far healthier for you than beef, being both considerably leaner and more nutritious. It is particularly good for young mothers, invalids, and people recovering from disease. All of whom will no doubt also appreciate whatever red wine (from California) that you pour.
Try it sometime. You'll find a friend for life.

I would serve some asparagus and plain rice with this, but you may prefer creamed spinach and country potatoes, in the fashion of the finest chop houses. That too is good. But whatever you do, don't forget the wine.

Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Merlot, Nero D'Avila, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Zinfandel .....

Red wine is a perfect accompaniment to good red meat, and many wines taste infinitely better paired with cheval, beef, or lamb, than they could if enjoyed without food.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Arno said…

    Rookvlees kan ook van rundvlees gemaakt zijn. Maar het lekkerst is toch inderdaad paardenvlees.
    Ik krijg het meestal op feestjes van oude ooms en tantes. Zachte (geiten)kaas met wat vers gesnipperde bieslook er doorheen en dan daaromheen paardenrookvlees. ERG lekker.
    U hebt neem ik aan wat meegekregen van de recente "paardenvlees-rel" in Nederland?

  • At 9:38 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Hallo Arno,

    Inderdaad, heb de laatste vier a vijf weken kunnen lezen over paardenvlees - niet alleen Nederland, ook elders in Europa. Ene vriend van Italiaansche afkomst wil op den duur proeven hoe Lasagne di Cavallo smaakt. Maar dan met gegarandeerde kwaliteit carne di cavallo, van een keurslager.

    Overigens, goede slagers worden steeds moeilijker te vinden. Het merendeel van de mensen slechts enkelijke vleesprodukten tegenwoordig. Gehakt, varkenslapjes, lams koteletten, biefstuk, en kippe boutjes. Daar zit weinig slagerskunde in.
    Men leeft beter dan onze voorvaderen deden. Maar men leeft minder.

  • At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Arno said…

    "Men leeft beter dan onze voorvaderen deden. Maar men leeft minder." Absoluut erg mooi gezegd. Morgen maar eens even naar de poelier op de markt wat kippenlevertjes halen :)


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