Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Horse Flesh vs Horse Urine: One is Disgusting, One is (or was) Awesome

Obviously I am fascinated by the European horsemeat McDealio. My interest seems slightly out of proportion, but whatever, I'll go with it.

Last night I was thinking about my mom, who had hip surgery last month and I began pondering her medical history, in the somewhat morbid way somebody approaching middle-age does. Looking for clues both about what lies ahead for me that I've inherited genetically, and how the next couple of decades will play out for her. I was thinking of the drug interactions she had to look out for before the surgery, and recalled that for a time in the late 90s, early 00s, she was taking Premarin for menopausal symptoms. She's not anymore; a lot of women aren't since it's been linked to cancer and other bad things.

Why do I mention this on my food blog? Well, some folks may not know that the trade-name "Premarin" is an acronym for PREgnant MARe urINe, which is the source of the estrogens in the pill. I gather that before it was shown to cause cancer, it had become the MOST PRESCRIBED drug in the US at a point in the 90s*. Tens of millions of women have ingested hormones derived -- literally -- from the excreta of pregnant horses. And nobody was screaming about that, i.e., ingesting horse chemicals per se, though there was plenty of real alarm when the link to cancer was proposed. Of course, Wyeth wasn't out there publicizing the urine part, so that helps explain the non-chalance about what on the face of it would be multiple layers of food taboo in the USA: ingesting horse and ingesting urine/urine by-products (and urine accessories, maybe).

It's an odd contrast to the current situation in Europe, where folks are repulsed by having consumed the flesh, but a decade ago women here were gladly devouring the urine by-products every day on a massive scale.

Humans are weird.


*NB: This was before Viagra and Cialis were heavily marketed.

1 comment:

  1. Humans are weird. We really are.

    And this is off topic (sorta), I saw a show where peanut butter was giving to kids in another country and they thought it was GROSS.

    So there ya go. My two cents for the day.