In spite of being popular with the media classes as a meat of choice, Matthew Steeples asks: ‘Why don’t supermarkets sell rabbit?’
Last week in The Times, I came across a recipe for rabbit pie. At the weekend, it featured in several recipes on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and inspired I headed to Waitrose Belgravia – supposedly Britain’s smartest supermarket – where I was ludicrously told: “We don’t sell THAT. It would upset customers. Imagine how people’s children would react. There would be crying in the aisles.”
At the grocer to royalty, Patridges on Duke of York Square off the Kings Road, I was met with even worse: “Rabbit? We don’t endorse cruelty. We’d certainly never sell that.” Strangely they didn’t feel similarly about lamb, beef and chicken.
Proceeding to several independent butchers in the locality, the reaction was slightly more positive. At one, I was told: “We can order it, but it’s hard. It might take a week, perhaps a bit longer.”
Rabbit, it seems, in even the poshest parts of Central London, is as hard to find as a Poundland store, yet with chefs like Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson banging on about its virtues and health benefits constantly, one has to wonder why.
Whilst it is possible to buy both wild and farmed rabbit online at such places as Alternative Meats and The Dorset Meat Company, that Rachel Cooke of the Guardian last year spoke of her frustration in locating places selling the meat of “the UK’s most populous edible animal” is telling. “I blame Beatrix Potter,” she quite amusingly concluded.
Nothing quite so good as a rural road kill or catching them oneself. Ferrets make nice pets and are dual purpose rabbit catchers.
What a coincidence, I just spoke to a guy last weekend and asked him the very same, How come nobody eats rabbit anymore? I remember back in the 70’s here, you saw Rabbit everywhere, all the butcher shops had rabbits hanging in the window. Pub counter lunches always had rabbit on the menu. I used to love Friday avo’s where we would head off up the bush for the weekend and shoot a dozen or so, and the farmers loved us for it, ah the good old days. But today it just wouldn’t be politically correct, would it? Vegans didn’t exist back then.
Supermarkets should sell it. Ridiculous.
My Father often recounts the story of when my Mother brought 2 rabbits from their village butcher. That night at dinner as my Father, a ‘reet-ol-cantrybamkin’, bit into his oven-ready bunny, he broke two teeth on the shotgun pellets still inside. But, it wasn’t the broken teeth that worried him, it was that this was the only meal during their 66 year marriage which he never ate and still feels guilty to this day despite my Mother succumbing to dementia 3 years ago.