Back in China #2

Good morning from the hotel in Shijiazhuang. Yes, the same one. In case anyone is wondering I solved the coffee problem:

The Solution

That little screen is a single cup coffee maker, designed for camping. You just pour the hot water through it and you have coffee.

The food here is always interesting; here are a couple of pictures:

Another version of Fish Head Soup
Kai and Hua
Train Snacks

On the table with Kai and Hua you can see the remnants of a green bean dish, leg of lamb, and some kind of egg and vegetable soup. Hidden behind the bowl is roasted squab. We also had a beef soup. Hua and Kai translated the leg of lamb as “mutton” and the squab as “pigeon”. I prefer the other names. The train snacks came in a cute little box that you see in the picture. Can’t say I have ever had purple potato peanuts before…

Hua told me some things about the beef industry here. They produce only about 0.6 calves per cow per year, which is not at all good. The beef cattle are mostly Simmental based, but the idea of specialized cattle for beef and dairy is only a few decades old here. Farmers are importing Angus, but have found them difficult to work with. This might be because they do not really have must range land here, so they raise beef cattle in confinement systems. I am not sure how well our free-thinking US beef cattle would adapt to that. Holstein steers are in good demand because of their large frames, which is exactly the opposite of what is happening in the US, where consumers no longer want giant cuts of steaks, instead preferring the smaller variety. I imagine with little access to grass or range, the cost of producing beef is very expensive too. Beef prices have risen substantially as a result of the loss of 20-50% of the national swine herd to African Swine Fever. Off to a farm today, more later…

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