until 1871, it was illegal to eat beef in japan.
yeah, you read that right. in fact, it was generally frowned upon to eat any kind of meat taken from livestock until the midst of the meiji restoration. chicken, pork, beef, you name it. while the reason for such an edict is obviously up for debate, many historians think that it was originally put in place to prevent famine. raising large livestock, particularly cows, requires an excessive amount of land and feed which can be put to better use on humans. put simply, beef wasn’t efficient.
remember a few posts back when i made yuzu pasta and my girlfriend whipped up an amazing batch of yuzu cupcakes?
while i would like to pretend that culinary curiosity was the only force of nature which inspired such an amazing post, the truth is not quite as glamorous. we cooked an entirely yuzu themed meal because we had so many yuzu we didn’t even know what to do with them. we literally had so many we were bathing in them.
we worked hard, and when all was said and done, we had accomplished a great feat. we breathed a deep sigh of elation and continued with our lives. two yuzu recipes had been born out of a desire to let no fruit go wasted, and that was nothing to be scoffed at. after all, necessity is the mother of invention.
like any normal person would after living through such a trying ordeal, i thought i was done with yuzu recipes for the year.
as it turns out, i was sorely mistaken.
frankly, i’m not a big fan of british cuisine.
as a quick disclaimer, i’m not making some sort of grand proclamation denouncing the deliciousness of all food served in the united kingdom. britain has become a country rife with cuisine from all kinds of cultures, so much so that i have a few friends that joke about tandoori chicken being the national food of the uk. i will gladly agree with any person asserting that britain has some really tasty food.
i don’t like british cuisine because, once you ask that person who asserted the deliciousness of british food to provide an example, the first thing they come up with is fish and chips.
not mince pie. not bread pudding. not kebabs or tandoori chicken. fish and freaking chips.
in today’s rapidly globalizing society, it seems like you can find at least one restaurant of almost any major country’s cuisine regardless of where you go. there are french restaurants in china, chinese restaurants in the united states, japanese restaurants in canada, and italian restaurants in japan. you get the idea.
i think some people (incorrectly) assume that these cuisines make it across borders and oceans relatively intact. when a country imports the food of another nation, it tends to insert a its own local flair. a chinese person eating at a chinese restaurant in america would, more than likely, be very confused as to why the food is audaciously titled “chinese food,” seeing as it bears almost no resemblance to the cuisine they ate growing up. conversely, many chinese people i have met in japan insist that the food served in chinese restaurants in japan is better tasting and more authentic than the food served in chinese restaurants in china.
but i digress. this post isn’t about how nations get foreign cuisine all wrong.
this post is about the world’s most misunderstood condiment.
there are people in this world who roll out of bed on saturday morning, pour some milk over stale cereal, and watch morning cartoons until their eyes hurt. when the cartoons are over, they microwave some pizza rolls just long enough for them to stop being frozen, eat them, and then go back to bed for the rest of the day.
then there are those people who wake up with the sun, make coffee, bake a batch of bread pudding, and head out to the farm by 9:00 a.m. those people are more my style.
holy bejeesus, pizza is amazing.
sure, a lot of the stuff you can get from delivery chains in the usa is absolutely terrible quality. not to mention frozen pizzas, which are (on the whole) nasty and super shady. it has become a lazy man’s food in the states because it is cheap, delivered directly to your house or place of work, and requires no utensils to consume. even elementary schools use it as the default school lunch because no kid can refuse greasy bread and melted cheese garnished with meat and (god willing) a few slices of vegetables.
i should apologize for the title of this post, but i won’t. it’s awesome and i am 100% unashamed.
let’s go ahead and nip this in the bud. there are, more likely than not, a fair amount of people out there reading this post and thinking “what is yuzu?” there are a couple of answers to that question.
first, the short answer. yuzu is delicious.
and now, the long answer.