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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kobe Corned Beef for St Patrick's Day

Aroma Thyme Bistro has Kobe Corned Beef for St Patrick's Week. We will be featuring Imperial American Kobe Corned Beef from Friday March 13th to Tuesday March 17th.

Imperial Wagyu Beef - the essence of Traditional Japan
Let's start with the basics - Kobe beef comes from a breed of cattle called Wagyu. Kobe is one of several regions of Japan from which Wagyu beef genetics are from.
The "Wagyu beef" designation can be applied to the meat from any cattle of the Wagyu breed; it's a genetic thing, not a place appellation or a reference to how the cattle were raised and fed. This breed is genetically predisposed to intense marbling, and produces a higher percentage of oleaginous, unsaturated fat than any other breed of cattle known in the world.
The reason for this is that Japan has been selectively breeding for marbling grade for centuries, while cattle ranchers in America relied on external conformation until just a few decades ago. Even today, carcass evaluation is a relatively new step in show judging, and only beginning to be a factor in the professional stud books of other countries.
The History and Tradition of Kobe Beef....
The word Wagyu refers to all Japanese beef cattle ("Wa" means Japanese or Japanese style and "gyu" means cattle). The Wagyu Breed - From plowshares to warfare, to the most sought after beef in the world!
Cattle were first introduced into Japan around the 2nd century, brought in from the Asian mainland, via the Korean Peninsula. The cattle provided a much-needed source of agricultural power, power to pull the plows for the cultivation of rice, power for the growth of a nation. The Shikoku region received the first imports, but because of rugged terrain and difficult traveling in the region, further migration of the cattle was slow. The cattle were in isolated areas, each essentially a closed population. Genetically segregated by topography, those animals were the ancestors of today's Japanese Wagyu breed of cattle.
The word Wagyu (pronounced wa-gyou) translated literally means Japanese, or Japanese-style cattle. Interestingly, there was a sound reason for breeding the Wagyu cattle for use only as draft animals, or beasts of burden - at that time Japanese religion prohibited the consumption of beef. But all that changed when an innovative Japanese military leader predicted diets rich in beef would make for significantly stronger soliders, and a successful compaign waged by the general's beef-strengthened troops served to validate his point. From that time forward, beef was a mandated part of the Japanese military diet in times of war -- it gave them strength.
Not surprisingly, when the triumphant, beef-fed soliders returned to their homes and to their farms, they brought with them an appetite for beef. That appetite was a problem - Japanese elders still embraced their traditional beliefs. Cooking and consuming beef inside the house was considered a sacrilege, a desecration of the house, and was therefore forbidden.
With no alternatives and not wishing to sacrifice the beef they craved, when the young farmers broke for their midday meal they heated their plowshares over hot coals; they cooked their beef outside, in the rice fields, thus was born the tradition of Japanese "Plow Cooking."
Recognizing their opportunity, pioneering breeders began selectively breeding their herds for human consumption. Some of those early genetic records survive till today, in the Wagyu herd book dating back to 1830. The Japanese herds were opened for limited crossbreeding from 1868 to 1910. Breeding stock of Brown Swiss, Shorthorn, Devon, Simmental, Aryshire, Korean, Holstein, and Angus, each made their genetic contribution to the Wagyu strain.
When regional variations in the cattle became greater than desired, it was decided that crossbreeding had not been beneficial, so in early 1900 the herds were closed once again to outside bloodlines. Since that time, the breed has been monitored closely by the Japanese Wagyu Registry, who meticulously maintain genetic and growth data on all cattle.
The herds were developed with the emphasis on quality - Wagyu produce consistently marbled, low-cholesterol carcasses, recognized as the world's finest, unmatched for flavor, tenderness and overall eating quality. Very protective of the breed, Japan went so far as to have the Wagyu classified as a national treasure.

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