Avoid the Auroch and try our very own Sirloin Steak.
In Game of Thrones, the meat of choice is roast auroch. This horned super-cow isn’t mythical. Julius Caesar encountered them during the Gallic Wars. “In size these are little but inferior to elephants,” said the Roman general. “They spare neither men nor beast.” Aurochs once roamed Britain alongside the wolverine, wild boar and Eurasian brown bear. The last global specimen was hunted to extinction in Poland’s Jaktorów forest in 1627.
Berlin zookeeper Lutz Heck wanted the half-ton cows back. In the 1930s the Nazi member and confidente of Hermann Göring introduced a back-breeding program to recreate the auroch using the largest, fiercest cattle types. Most of his aryan cows were killed during World War Two. But a few did survive.
In 2015 a British farmer tried to breed these ‘Heck cattle’. The experiment wasn’t a success. Derek Gow, of Upcott Grange Farm in Devon, imported 13 Hecks but they were too aggressive to rear. As the Daily Mail succinctly put it: “The HERD Reich: Farmer forced to get rid of Hitler's Nazi cows”. In farmer Gow’s own words: “(They) would just attack you any chance they could. They would try to kill anyone.”
Diners would be safer with a rare cut from Parson’s Nose, like Ox cheek or tail. Both bargain joints benefit from a 12-hour steep in red wine, before a slow-bake to succulence alongside lemon halves and whole onions. When the meat flakes with a fork, it’s done. Heaven knows how long an auroch would have to marinade for.
Sadly the butcher doesn’t stock other long-lost British meats. During auroch-era Britain, common foodstuffs included peacock, hedgehog, larks. The rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence, with its “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie”, describes another medieval delicacy. Oh for a simple sirloin.