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The meat was quite good

Letter from Dick Stacy

Food – July 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine


I enjoyed the essay by Sharon O’Toole on horses (mostly dead ones) in your June edition. I guess that I was surprised about the current status of dead horses and what happens to them.

I grew up in a small town in southwestern New York State during the years of World War II. The town is on the Alleghany Indian reservation. During my high school years, I worked in a small, locally-owned grocery store, where I was apprenticed to the butcher, who was teaching me the trade.

In those years, beef was scarce and rationed. My boss, the owner of the store, knew a lot of the local Indians, as they were frequent customers of the store. The store had a complete butcher shop upstairs in the main store as well as another butchering area in the basement. Occasionally, an Indian would bring in a dead horse that we would butcher in the basement. My boss also had a meat stamp and we would label the butchered horse as “U.S. Grade A” with this stamp and put the finished steaks, roasts, etc. in the meat display case in the main store. This horse meat sold very well. I took a lot of steaks, roasts and ground meat home, where my aunt (I lived with an aunt and uncle after my parents died) would cook them. As I recall, the meat was quite good and I never had any hesitancy about eating it. The secret for selling horse meat may be in the labeling and not telling the customers the source!

Dick Stacy