Sunday, April 6, 2008

Butter Shortage in Japan

The picture above is one I took at the local "sunlive" supermarket (I looked like a tourist!!). It basically says there is no butter available. WHAT?!!! I couldn't believe it. I mean no butter? Now, I know some of you might be saying "do Japanese use butter?" yep...they sure do. Perhaps not as much as we North Americans (and others) do but a lot of women bake...lots of baking gets done here and toast in the morning is pretty common too. How does a country basically have no butter? Well....talk to the government. Seems they told the dairy farmers last year they couldn't produce too much milk and then it was winter so I was told the cows didn't produce much milk. I'm sure there is more to this story but that is what I've been told.

Now...as for NO butter being available ...that isn't exactly true. At one store I found some "made in Hokkaido" (Hokkaido is in northern Japan) butter for about $5 for less than 1/2 a pound. I bought it and I bought margarine that "tastes like butter"-it even says it in English! I also bought a butter/margarine blend for baking. I asked my students about this and except for one student who is a baker...the others didn't care that much. They told me if there were no soy beans....then all hell would break loose since they use it to make everything-soy sauce, tofu, natto, miso etc. So as long as they have soy....most of them are ok. Considering they all love baked goods in this country I wonder if they will feel the same when the prices go up due to the butter issue?!!

8 comments:

Milkberry said...

Really was it that easy to find butter? Ever since I moved here I find it extremely hard to find butter around my area. Loads of margarine, no butter. I'll cry with happiness if I ever get to find Lurpak here. And I'm looking for Crisco too, I don't know where to find them.

A friend taught me how to make cow butter last week so I'll give it a try. Just buy cream and use your mixer and churn it until it becomes butter. And the water that you get is buttermilk. LOL I never knew that.

melissa, aka maoiliosa said...

haha, that sign has a lot of text on it for basically just saying, "sorry, we're out of butter"! i love the japanese and their wordiness :D <3.

sofia said...

Hey milkberry. I have to say that I just found quite a bit of butter in the store but nothing like it used to be and the price has gone up. But for a long time I couldn't find butter and then they had a few boxes of the the Hokkaido butter so I bought it. But it is insane to me that a country can be basically out of butter.

Melissa-you should see the note that is on every table at my favorite "yaki niku" restaurant (where you grill the meat yourself at the table). It is a full A4 size sheet and I asked my honey what it says and he said "prices might go up." LOL

Colleen said...

I tagged you on my blog! Check it out!

Mixed Species said...

WOW! Great blog! We'll definitely be checking up on a regular basis. Fortunately we are find without butter, just don't take away our bacon!

Ninjin said...

Wow. Just...*wow*. Butter is one of the things we take for granted as being really common and necessary in Europe, I can't imagine not being able to get any at *all*... O_o

Anandi said...

Wow, ever since I moved away from home, I buy only butter and never margarine. I'd hate to have to go back to margarine!!

Good luck to you during The Great Butter Shortage!

sofia said...

Hey Colleen...will visit your blog soon and figure out what you are talking about ^__^

Mixed Spices....I miss bacon in Canada....Japanese bacon just isn't the same! Enjoy!

Ninjin....it's shocking isnt' it?! I mean a whole country with only a bit of butter? Still don't get it!

Anadi-thanks! I'm not a margarine fan. Yesterday when I made some dinner I used real butter and it was SOOOOOOOO delicious I actually talked to it and said I had missed it!

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