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Foodie Fandom Extremes: ‘Wildest’ Wagyu On the Net?

I’m still not sure just how I feel about this Instagram post that’s gone viral in foodie social media circles. A butcher shop in Lowell, Mass., says it’s copped the ultimate Japanese Wagyu Beef loin. And ‘fans’ are going nuts over it…

A5 Wagyu - © 2023 - Alpine Butcher via Instagram

What it is

What’s all the fuss about? It’s a full loin of Wagyu beef that landed recently at the Alpine Butcher shop in Lowell, Mass. It’s the top grade you can get – A5. And it’s available for purchase now.

The social media post was simply designed to get the word out to prospective buyers. Those folks would be among the tiny minority at the top of the income/wealth pyramid. Those who think nothing of spending hundreds of bucks on a single ribeye.

What is Wagyu?

This would be a good time for a refresher on just what Wagyu Beef is. It’s an ultra-exclusive Japanese classic, which comes only from a certain breed of cattle, raised on a special diet, in a certain part of country.

And it’s become known worldwide over the past decade or so, as Australian, US and other ranchers have started to emulate the Wagyu process. Hoping to earn the same ridiculously high prices as the original fetches.

The big attraction of Wagyu and its copycats is generous, consistent ‘micro-marbelling’. Ideally, fat is insinuated between every little strand of muscle. When the meat cooks, the fat renders, creating the ideal tender, juicy, flavourful steak.

Who are the ‘Alpiners’?

The Alpine Butcher shop opened in 1913, and has been owned and operated by the Doyle family for 4 generations.

“All of our beef is USDA Prime. This is the highest grade available in the United States,” the website boasts. “Our Pork and Chicken is humanely raised as well as antibiotic-free and hormone-free.”

Wagyu-style beef is a high-profile specialty on the Apline’s menu. They’ll ship their luxe steaks and roasts anywhere in the US.

Sounds as though the Alpine has found its ultra-high-end niche, and staked an iron-clad claim to it.

Social media – the great leveller

But what did the social media proletariat have to say? When you post something on the internet, without placing it behind pay walls or members-only curtains, it’s there for everyone to see. And comment on.

Following are some of the more acerbic comments to the Instagram post. And all I’ve seen were from ordinary folks like me…

“I hate fat.”

“This is [3D] printed meat.”

Hold on, there might be a little bit of meat with your fat. Jesus Christ.”

“This meat is a scam.”

“What have you done to that poor elephant’s leg?”

Nevertheless, the post had garnered more than 93,000 ‘likes’ when I looked in on it just now. Talk about polarized opinions!

My take

On balance, I don’t really think that what the 1 percent and their suppliers do is going to have any real effect on the rest of us. But I am sensitive to the ridicule and sarcasm infusing those social media comments.

At some point, food prices will reach heights that will see us all eating rice and beans three times a day just to fill our bellies and survive, nutritionally. All except the folks at the top, who control all the wealth. The folks who COULD help the world survive the coming climate and sustainability crises if they invested even some of their billions in the right programs NOW.

I wonder how long it will take for the privileged few to realize that, if the rest of us die out – or, at minimum, are rendered unable to afford the products and services that made the rich folks rich in the first place… Only when their own lives are directly affected will they even consider taking action.

Meanwhile… “The people can’t afford hamburger? Let ’em eat Wagyu!”

~ Maggie J.