"The Coronavirus Is Bringing Back a 1,000-Year-Old ‘Cheese’ in Japan" - Atlas Obscura

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"The Coronavirus Is Bringing Back a 1,000-Year-Old ‘Cheese’ in Japan" - Atlas Obscura

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Like other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan is experiencing a rising interest in learning new cooking recipes, particularly local culinary traditions. In a short article for Atlas Obscura, Makiko Itoh looks at how the recent cooking craze has hit Japan through the lens of a particular dairy product, known as so.

Recently, the Japanese dairy industry had a problem with being unable to sell its surplus milk supply overseas due to the transit disruptions created by the pandemic. In response, Japanese consumers were encouraged to purchase more milk to save the industry and to use them for local recipes. One recipe in particular, known as so, has gained increased interest from Japanese foodies. According to Itoh, so is a cheese-like dairy product that was first created during the Nara and Heian periods of Japanese history, when dairy farming was at its height. So was popular among aristocrats, and even the Japanese emperors of the time were avid consumers. However, according to Itoh, the rise of the Kamakura Shogunate and the samurai warrior class caused the popularity of so and other dairy products to decline markedly. So making was recently revived by foodies and history buffs, who have helped popularize the recipe again for new consumers and amateur cooks.

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This item was submitted on November 13, 2020 by Carlos Castro using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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