FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (6)-22018/07/11（Wed）
♪ About Ingredients that can be collected in Gifu Prefecture.
☆Gifu prefecture is one of the prefectures not facing sea. On the other hand, there are several big rivers such as Kiso, Nagara, and Ibi rivers which contain clear water from the mountainous areas. So, many natural river fish can be taken from the rivers. And in Gifu prefecture, the aquaculture of the river fish is carried out actively.
☆ According to the data of 2012 on yielding amount of the natural fish caught from the inland water in Gifu prefecture, sweetfish ("Ayu" in Japanese) is 216 tons which is equivalent to 3rd place after Kanagawa and Ibaraki prefectures. Crucian carp ("Funa" in Japanese) is 13 tons which is 8th place in Japan. Of course, you can also pick other river fish such as landlocked salmon (“Yamame” in Japanese), char (“Iwana” in Japanese), etc.
♪Local cusines using local products in Gifu Prefecture.
☆Many agricultural products can be taken from the Nobi Plain in Gifu prefecture.
Those are fruits, wild vegetables, mushrooms, beef, pork and chicken. If you have the opportunity to go to Gifu prefecture, please enjoy the cuisines cooked with the ingredients mentioned above.
☆"Hachiko (larva of bee)." is eaten in Gifu prefecture in which people of Akechi town located the eastern part of the prefecture eat well. The larva of blackwasp (“Kurosuzumebachi” in Japanese) is called “Hebo” around Akechi area, so that, signboards written such as “There is Hebo” can be seen at grocery stores of the area. The season of ”Hebo” is October.
☆Cooking with “Hebo” includes “Tsukudani (preservable foods boiled down in soy sauce)”, steamed “Hebo “(using leaves of Japanese ginger), cooked rice mixed with ”Hebo”, etc. People in the local area eat without hesitation, but the other land people eat “Hebo” cuisines with rather hesitation. “Hebo” cuisines may be valuable source of protein on the snowy lands.
☆The way to catch ”Hebo” is that when a beehive was found in the ground, a cylinder to produce smoke is inserted into the beehive nest. Because “Hebo” is loosed consciousness by the smoke,” Hebo” can be caught.
☆Bee’s larva are also eaten other than Japan, such as East Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Romania, Ecuador, etc , even now.
☆"Hida Beef" is the beef of “Japanese Black Beef (“Kuroge Wagyu” in Japanese)” raised in the Hida region of Gifu prefecture, and it was confirmed as a brand since 1985. Its meat quality is one of the finest beefs in Japan. You may be requestet to remember that “Gyu” means “Beef” and “Ushi” means “Cow”. “Hida Gyu” is a fine marbled beef. Its muscle fibers are thin and the taste of the meat is sweet and soft. We recommend you enjoy cuisines with this beef.
☆"Moriguchi-zuke." is the pickle using "Moriguchi radish (Moriguchi Daikon in Japanese)". The name of “Moriguchi” is from Moriguchi town in Gifu prefecture. This Daikon was planted already in Moriguchi town in the latter half of 16th century, and was presented to Hideyoshi Toyotomi who was a great Shogun before Ieyasu Tokugawa. "Moriguchi Daikon" has a diameter of 2 to 3 cm, but it is an elongated radish with a length of 1 m or more.
☆This Daikon (radish) disappeared at the end of Edo period, but it revived in the middle of Meiji period. "Moriguchi-zuke " is a salted "Moriguchi Daikon", but it is elegant taste, so that it has been served to "Tea Ceremony (“Chakai” in Japanese)”.
☆“Bijo Mochi” is “Rice cake” named due to a beautiful young mother”, since a beautiful woman is expressed to be “Bijo” in Japanese. “Bijo Mochi” is a rice cake that is eaten in the Hida-Takayama area in Gifu prefecture. After white rice was ground with a mortar, added hot water and kneaded to make a stick shaped rice cake.
☆Iｎancient time of Japan, we used to bring glutinous rice together, and gathered to make rice cake (“Mochi” in Japanese) at the end of the year. After “Mochi” was made, it was distributed to each family. But it takes long time to make a large amount of “Mochi” to cover many families. A woman who carried a baby on her back appeared such time for teaching how to make a lot of Mochi easily and disappeared soon.
☆People think that this woman is surely an incarnation of the pond named "beautiful girls pond (“Bijo-ga-Ike” in Japanese)". So that, people named the Mochi mentioned above "beautiful rice cake (“Bijo Mochi”)"
♪About “Nagara-gawa no Ukai”.
☆"Fishing with cormorant (“U” in Japanese) at the Nagara River (Nagara-gawa no Ukai)" is famous. This fishing method has been done for a long time in Yamanashi, Aichi, Kyoto, Yamaguchi prefectures, etc. other than Gifu (Nagara-gawa). But, “Nagara-gawa no Ukai” in Mino (Gifu prefecture now) is said to be the origin of all “Ukai” fishing methods of Japan.
☆Sweetfish (“Ayu” in Japanese) swallowed by an “U” will lose their consciousness in the esophagus of “U”. Since “Ayu” in the esophagus of “U” does not get scratched, it is a value of this fishing method. Yoritomo Minatomo, Nobunaga Oda, Ieyasu Okugawa those who were the greatest Shoguns governed old Japan praise this fishing method. “U” used for “Ukai” are caught at sea of Ibaraki prefecture.
☆When Japanese government was transferred from Tokugawa family to Imperial Court, “Nagara-gawa no Ukai” went down. But “Emperor Meiji” revived this method. “Ukai fishermen (“Usho” in Japanese) in “Nagara-gawa no Ukai” are national public servants of the Imperial Household Agency (“Kunaicho” in Japanese).
♪Thus, Gifu prefecture is rich in attractive places each of which has delicious local cuisines. Please enjoy Gifu’s food culture.
♪"Ise Shrine (“Ise Jingu” in Japanese)" had influenced on the culture of Mie prefecture. So, food brand products and food culture of the prefecture strongly related to “Ise Jingu”. About “Ise Jingu” should be described first.
☆"Ise Jingu" was established by the daughter of the “Emperor Suijin” around 70 BC, for her nephew whose name was “Amaterasu Ohomikami”. Accordingly, although this shrine was for the Imperial Family only, it was changed for all classes of Japan including Samurai class. In the Edo period, the ordinary people also visit to worship “Ise Jingu”, which was called as “Oise Mairi (Worshipping Ise Jingu)”.
♪As famous local products in Mie prefecture, “Ise Shrimp（”Ise Ebi” in Japanese） and “Matsusaka Beef (“Matsusaka Gyu” in Japanese)” will be introduced here. Including these 2 products, most of the Mie prefecture’s products were dedicated to “Ise Jingu”, because business on the local food products went well by the interest of “Ise Jingu”.
☆”Ise Ebi” is a large shrimp with length of about 35 cm, which can be harvested in the “Ise Bay” a lot. ”Ise Ebi” is the most prestigious shrimp in Japan. There are many local cuisines using “Ise Ebi” such as Sashimi and Sushi which use raw “Ise Ebi”, “Ise Ebi Miso Soup”, Soy source tasted cooked rice with ”Ise Ebi,” etc.
☆Along with the large and dignified figure of “Ise Ebi”, it was eaten as an auspicious thing for New Year. Even wealthy people can not eat easily everyday. Even now, the value of "Ise Ebi” as high-class food ingredient remains the same as before.
☆The long antennae of “Ise Ebi” represents the beard of the old man who passed the age, and because it’s bent figure resembles the figure of an elderly person bent in waist, the shrimp is treated as a lucky symbol which wishes for longevity.
☆The natural enemies of “Ise Ebi” are octopus (“Tako” in Japanese)”. On the other hand, moray eel fish (“Utsubo” in Japanese) loves octopus. So “Ise Ebi” lives with “Utsubo”, and “Utsubo” catches octopus which is coming to eat “Ise Ebi”, that is, “Ise Ebi” and “Utsubo” are a relationship of the bilateral symbiosis.
☆It is said that “Ise Ebi” and lobster are often in rivalry relationship. But there are some differences between the premium shrimps. “Europian Lobster” lives in the Atlantic near Norway and Mediterranean, and “American Lobster” lives in the Atrantic near Canada and Caribbean Sea. On the other hand “Ise Ebi” lives in the western Pacific coast of Japan, along the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, and other areas. For the appearance, lobster is bigger than “Ise Ebi” whose body size is about 30cm. Furthermore, although lobsters have huge scissors, “Ise Ebi” has no scissors. This is the biggest difference between the two shrimps.
♪” Matsusaka Beef (Matsusaka Gyu ) ” is taken from “Matsusaka Cow (Matsusaka Ushi)” which has been fattened in Matsusaka city regions in Mie prefecture. “Matsusaka Gyu” is called “Art of Meat".
☆In 1872, Tokusaburo Yamaji in Matsusaka tried to sell “Matsusaka Gyu” to Tokyo where is a large consuming area of beef. So, he gathered “Matsusaka Ushi” from Matsusaka area. And then, he went on foot from Matsusaka to Tokyo accompanied by many “Matsusaka Ushi”. It was called "Cattle Droving Jjourney (“Ushi-oi Dochu” in Japanese)”. He did “Ushi-oi Dochu” for 25years since1872 every other month.
☆The reason why Tokusabro performed “Ushi-oi Dochu” such long time was that people in Tokyo well ate a cuisine called “Gyu Nabe (beef cooked in a hot pot at the table)” in response to the Western civilization that came into Japan around 1870.
The cuisine was made by cooking beef in an iron pot mixed with Japanese leek and baked Miso. After that, “Sukiyaki [thinly sliced beef cooked in an iron pot with various vegetables, bean curd (“Tofu” in Japanese), etc]” was eaten well in Kansai. It means that beef was spreaded all over Japan. Consequently, “Matsusaka Gyu” gradually began to be recognized as a brand beef, because of its excellent taste.
♪Please come to Mie prefecture and visit “Ise Jingu” first. Afterward, eat “Ise Ebi” which is the finest shrimp in Japan. At that time please eat “Matsusaka Gyu” as well because it is one of 4 large barand beefs other of which are “Kobe Gyu”, “Omi Gyu (Shiga prefecture)” and “Yonezawa Gyu (Yamagata prefecture)” than “Matsusaka Gyu”.
♪Next will be mentioned for the FOOD CUTURE ANECDOTES of Shiga and Kyoto Prefectures as FOOD CUTURE ANECDOTES Part1 (7)-1
Refer to FOOD CUTURE ANECDOTES Part1 (7)-1 (Shiga and Kyoto Prefectures).
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (6)-1 (Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures).