Posted by Sylvia Zygalo on Saturday, August 29th, 2009
Can I write about something that I haven’t actually experienced myself yet? Well, can I imagine living in a Gamma Issa House & be certain that life would constitute a daily source of solid satisfaction? I sure can.
So, when I came across an article on a “butter-soft” beef from Japan called Omi, I instantly started sulking in response to its rarity here in North America. Unlike Kobe, Omi has little presence outside of Japan, & although it’s one of the three Tajima long-haired black cow meats that stands at the forefront of Japanese beef, it’s somehow taken a backseat within the marketing spectrum.
Omi is produced in Lake Biwa in Shiga, & is being hailed for health in being lean despite its tender texture. Farmers of Omi strictly adhere to natural methods of raising their livestock & do not interfere with the development of the cows. The calves are fed by their mothers & the cows are only given home-grown rice & wheat to eat. No antibiotics or supplements are given to the cows, either. The downside of their delicate meat is that Omi actually melts in warmer temperatures & thus presents a preparation method foreign to most chefs. The beef has to be cut quickly into slender slices for serving of sashimi, shabu-shabu or sukiyaki, which is an art form in Japan & can take years to master. Omi, Kobe & Matsuzkaza are all meats from the same cow, but the difference in taste stems from both the climate & the timing in terms of their feed. Omi beef cows are only fed for however long they wish to eat, thus producing this balance of being both light & lean.
The meat also marbles naturally, but Japanese farmers have been rumored to massage the cows, play them Mozart & feed them beer in an attempt to further melt their muscles into what I could only possibly imagine would result in a meat milkshake. Unnecessary? Yes – the farmer’s thought so, too.
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