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.