The reaction, not surprising for fans of a butcher shop, leaned in support of lifting the ban.
"Meat is meat is meat," one commenter wrote.
Still, many others found the idea of eating horse sickening.
"This is the most disgusting and reprehensible thing I've ever heard of," one wrote.
And where does Levitt stand in this debate?
"People have a hard time eating Trigger but not a hard time eating Wilbur (from Charlotte's Web)," Levitt said Thursday. "As long as the horses are responsibly raised, I would try it if there was a demand."
The 2006 federal ban was lifted on Nov. 18 as part of a temporary spending bill signed into law by President
Currently there are no horse slaughterhouses in operation in the U.S. —
While eating horse meat is not explicitly illegal in Illinois, the law is written in a way that all but discourages possession (except, as stated in Section 2.1 of the Illinois Horse Meat Act, for ground or chopped meat no "greater than 3/4 of an inch in any dimension").
Not that it makes a difference, as eating horse meat in the U.S. remains a cultural taboo, even though it can be found in restaurants as close as Toronto and in supermarket cold cases in French-speaking Canada.
"Horse meat not looked at as food is uniquely American. The rest of the world eats it," said Andrew Zimmern, host of
Many chefs in Chicago share the "meat is meat" philosophy, saying they would be open in serving horse meat if there was customer demand.
"Public perception might be off-putting in the beginning, but I think people are open in tasting it," said Ryan Poli, executive chef of the forthcoming Tavernita restaurant. "I'd be excited to come up with creative ways to serve it."
Said Merlin Verrier, executive chef of
What does horse meat taste like? Poli was cooking in Spain when he first tried pony.
"I thought it was beef, with this wet hay flavor," Poli said. "If you walked into a meadow after it rained, that's the only way I could describe the taste."
Zimmern said he prefers horse and donkey to most grass-fed beef.
"The meat has a very nutty and mineraly quality that I adore. I think anyone with an open mind would want to make it a regular part of their meal."