From: Peter Rivard
Date: Sun Nov 3, 2002 11:59:20 PM Japan
I mentioned a while ago that I was having a steak delivered to me at work--the butchers, grandparents of one of my Go-chu kids, would be coming by anyway to deliver the school lunches, so they'd bring the steak I'd ordered the week before.
Butchers delivering the school lunch? It didn't quite sound right, so I asked Takako, and she explained that they were probably just delivering their grandson's lunch. Turns out a lot of families, instead of sending their kids off to school with a packed lunch in the morning, drop off a freshly made lunch just before lunchtime--they sneak in to the student entrance and leave the lunches in the kids' shoe lockers. Talk about spoiled!
I was pretty spoiled by that steak. It ended up being ¥5000 (about $40) for a little over a pound, but it was fantastic, from one of those famous beer-fed, hand-massaged steers the Japanese are famous for. The meat was incredibly smooth and soft--it put every filet I've ever had to shame--but a little lower in flavor than the "tougher" steaks I'm used to. Gotta try everything once while I'm here.
6 weeks later: Now, I know why the butchers were going to bring the steak while delivering the school lunch--I wasn't so far off to begin with. While at the elementary school just down the street today, I overheard the vice-principal call up that very same butcher to order a kilogram of pork for the next day's school lunch. At elementary schools, a cook makes the school lunch fresh every day (today's highlight was mushroom and tofu soup, accompanied by rice and washed down with spoiled milk).