I woke up this morning to the news that horse meat has found its way into the IKEA menu in Britain. Now I know there shouldn’t be any reason for concern that it is beating a track to our favourite IKEA store here in North America yet. On the three occasions I have visited this furniture mecca – Denver and Vancouver – and each time I indulged in a plate of Swedish meatballs for a mere two dollars a time. Yes, I have had smoked horse meat but never developed a taste for it: I found its taste to be slightly sweet, unique, and chewy but these qualities may have more to do with the smoking than its inherent qualities. The history behind the horse as a source of food is, I am told, very cultural driven. In the west, horse meat is not considered a staple because the horse is regarded an essential animal for commerce and pleasure. Slaughtering it for food just doesn’t make sense. In cultures like eastern Europe, asiatic Russia and China, where access to a ready and affordable supply of beef and pork may be limited, horse meat has become a reasonable alternative for economic reasons. The question remains: will I continue to order meatballs when I visit IKEA or my local M & M store? Not likely. You see, I have had my fill of processed Swedish meatballs this past couple of years and, even if they don’t contain traces of horse meat, I think I will opt for my wife’s home-made variety that doesn’t have that rubbery, synthetic factory taste found in the packaged variety. There is no mistaking it: there is no substitute for the real McCoy. Horses are meant for the track and the field, not the dinner plate.