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Horse Fat Fries in Paris?

Old Apr 29th, 2008, 03:18 PM
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Horse Fat Fries in Paris?

While talking about my upcoming trip to Paris, a friend mentioned the use of horse fat to cook fries in France & Belgium. I was horrified (I have my reasons). After a bit of searching on google, it seems that this info is accurate--horse fat is highly regarded for cooking fries. Anyone know how common this is in Paris restaurants? And if waitstaff would be accepting of us asking what kind of oil they use?

PS Please don't respond if it is just to flame me for not wanting to eat horse.
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 04:45 PM
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That I don't know, but I wouldn't worry about whether or not the wait staff would be "accepting" or not if you asked. If you don't want to eat horse fat then ask them. If they can't/won't give you an answer then I'd skip the fries. I know that fries in different countries can be cooked in beef fat. Happy Travels!
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 04:47 PM
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<would be accepting of us asking what kind of oil they use?>

Can you speak French?
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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Thanks for the replies, you are correct in your guess that we do not speak french, but I definitely have to learn how to ask about peanuts & peanut oil (deathly allergic), so I will add horses & horse oil to that list, if necessary!
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 07:46 PM
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I don't think you will find as much horse meat or horse fat as in past years. KY was one of the big suppliers to Europe, but I understand it is now banned (by the US).
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 07:51 PM
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If you hadn't come across this information, you'd be blissfully ignorant and none the wiser. I suggest you just pretend you never heard about this, or eschew fries in France.
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 09:19 PM
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French fries made in France arecooked in vegetable oil. That's why they aren't as good as the ones in Belgium which use a mixture of vegetable oil and beef fat.

Any mention of using horse fat is clearly an urban myth. French fries are a cheap dish, whereas horse fat must be about the price of caviar since they are not fatty animals.

The cheapest cooking oil in France is sunflower oil, so I would imagine that 98% of the fries you can buy are made using that.
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 09:25 PM
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The best fries are said to be cooked in horse-fat and your information is quite correct, it was used in the old time in some parts of Francen, mainly in the North. I doubt it is today.

Peanut oil is "huile d'arachides".
Horse fat is "graisse de cheval".
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 09:44 PM
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A quick web seach on French Google reveals that the sale of horse fat is forbidden in France.
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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 11:14 PM
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In 'them good old days back home' my mother made fries with mainly ox fat. She would occassionnally add a part of horse fat, but never more than 1/7 of the total quantity. I don't know why just 1/7, maybe because horse fat wasn't that easy to find.

However, as EU regulators have never tasted my mother's fries, it is now forbidden...
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 12:24 AM
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Horse fat may have been more common before horses were replaced by motor vehicles. In those days, when the horses weren't useful anymore they were slaughtered for food and every other possible thing for which their carcasses could be used.

Some motors in Europe are now using old French fry oil as fuel. This is true!
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 12:55 AM
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Horsemeat is still fairly common in Europe. One reason I don't eat frikadels and the like from snack bars here in Holland is that they often contain horse meat. I always read the labels on meat products I buy at the supermarket.
I know horse meat is a good, low fat meat but I can't eat horse. Must be the Brit in me.
Fries in Holland are always cooked in vegetable oil. Not peanut oil because of the allergy problems. Do watch out in Chinese or other oriental restaurants though - they do tend to use peanut oil even though it is more expensive.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 01:05 AM
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Horse meat is still popular in France and in Germany and Switzerland. In every better supermarket in France, you find horse meat. It is regarded a delicacy and pretty expensive. I would only expect Michelin-star-awarded restaurants to use horse fat for pommes frites and then they would inform you about that.

On a recent trip into the Pyrenees, we saw a flock of horses without horseshoes and when we asked the farmer for what purpose he raised these horses he said "pour manger" - to eat them.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 01:28 AM
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And I suppose that now is the time to bring up that other common misunderstanding that we regularly see here:

A steak haché à cheval or a hamburger à cheval is a BEEF patty with a fried egg on top ('riding horseback') -- it has absolutely nothing to do with horsemeat.

Horsemeat will always clearly be labeled "viande chevaline" and there is absolutely no way that you can get it by accident in France
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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Thanks to all who have weighed in with their experience and knowledge. I am somewhat relieved, as it sounds like horse fat fries would be the exception rather than the norm. We have been looking forward to steak frites, poulet frites, moules frites, etc and this revelation threw us off a bit. If I want to be totally safe (from peanuts or ???) how would I say "What kind of oil do you use?"
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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When I was in Italy last year with my daughter, I noticed that one of the popular flavors of baby food was horse. We didn't try it. Not sure there was really any horse it in but I wasn't going to try it!
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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indiepopster, I have seen other threads about people traveling with serious food allergies. iirc, the recommendation is to bring a card with your specific allergy information written in the language of the country you will be visiting. That way there will be absolutely no misunderstanding. The waiter can even bring it to the kitchen to double check. I have a vague recollection that there is an online source of the exact language, but I don't have a link. Anyway, that's what I'd do, especially if I were not conversant in French - otherwise, you ask your prepared question, hope the person will understand your accent, hope that you can understand the reply, etc.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 05:53 PM
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The site to order the food allergy cards in different languages is:
www.selectwisely.com

I wrote my own when I went to Italy a couple years ago and had an Italian friend translate it for me. I laminated it and showed to the waiter at restaurants, then point to what I wanted and ask if it was ok. Not a big deal at all.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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Hi I,

Are you sure you know what McD's fries are cooked in?

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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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Stop Whinnying.

The fries go good with Colt .45
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