Jill Gallone: What more horrors await us after the horse-meat scandal?
VALENTINE'S Day romance isn't something at which I excel, but at least I dropped the idea of a Findus lasagne for two by candlelight.
That time-worn phrase "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse" has suddenly taken on new meaning.
They say good things always come out of bad and I'm sure that will be the case in this saga.
Whenever I see trays of ready-made lasagne now, a glum picture of Red Rum's face – looking as if he's about to be eaten – leaps into my head.
When you consider the fact that meat has had to be brought in from Romania to feed our vast Western appetite for junk food, and that the Polish and Italian mafia may well be involved, you don't just contemplate going back to basics with food – it becomes a necessity.
I publicly apologise now for my joke first aired on Twitter... "I suppose the Italian mafia had to do something else with the rest of the horse after leaving all those heads in beds". The Godfather movie has a lot to answer for.
Suffice to say, this whole sorry drama has made me vow never to buy a ready meal ever again (and I didn't buy many) and to visit my local butchers from now on.
I might even start making my own sausages. Seriously. And bread. Hail the proper DIY sausage buttie!
At last, the iron grip of the supermarkets on our souls may be loosened a little to let privately owned food shops flourish.
And wouldn't it be nice if all that cash we spend on food was spread around a little more evenly?
When the horse-meat debate broke out in my house, my eldest son begged to differ with my take on the saga: "What's wrong with horse-meat?" he asked. "Meat is meat."
Naturally I lectured him on integrity, the basic requirement of a label on a packet being a truthful account of what's inside and how, if we've been tricked to this degree, what more horrors await us?
For example, have we been fed diseased or condemned meat?
From where I'm standing, nobody seems to care what we're given once disguised by béchamel sauce.
I hope vegetarians aren't feeling too smug either.
Don't grin too broadly. Remember you have to eat Quorn.
As for me, as well as buying from my local butcher, I plan to buy locally in every way from now on. Things are coming full circle. Buying stuff online from remote companies based miles away has been a disaster for me in the last couple of months, and costly.
I plan to make the most of what's on my doorstep and, in true 1940s style, hark back to a bygone era of personal service from people who care.
I don't want to e-mail people in the internet wilderness or press innumerable options on company phone lines invented to drive people insane. I want to talk to real people, face to face – in Derby.
While I contemplate how I'll make that happen, it's time to rustle up a Valentine's meal. Fancy home-made bangers nestled in crunchy bread straight from the oven? Sounds like a recipe for romance to me.