Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meat Market

I don't really understand why anyone would want to look at pictures of meat when they could look at beautiful pastries, but nonetheless, that's the request I've been getting repeatedly from a certain reader. She knows I've been mostly a vegetarian for the last 10 years, and I have a suspicion that this begging for blogs about meat is part of a ploy to bring me over to the dark side, but to be honest, eating meat just doesn't appeal to me that much. Nonetheless, I will make an effort not to discriminate against the carnivorous and to post a meaty picture or two from time to time. I won't be able to say much about the taste, but you can use your imagination.
The photo at the top is the rare piece of meat I actually had a hand in cooking. It was a New Year's brisket, a piece of beef weighing five or six pounds, so big it took two people to brown in an undersized frying pan before it was transferred, somewhat shrunken, to a roasting pan and smothered in wine, onion soup mix, chunks of onion, and a can of diced tomatoes. It baked, covered, in a 350 degree oven for four or five hours, until it was fall-apart tender. It actually looked and smelled pretty good, even to me.

The photo above I took at the upscale supermarket in Tokyo Midtown. Enlarge the photo (just click on it) if it's too small to read the labels and price tags. I think they speak for themselves. What I want to know is, who in Tokyo is buying these things?
Last one. This is a much more common sight in the grocery store meat case, gorgeous ribbons of marbled beef for shabu-shabu, cooked by dipping one by one for a minute or two into a pot of steaming broth in the center of the table, or for similar communal cooking over a tabletop grill or brazier. The nice thing about Japan is it's not scared of there being any fat in the meat, and thus Japanese meat is much more tender and flavorful than the lean, stockyard American type. Or so I hear, anyway.

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