The Story of Sushi
2 journalers for this copy...
It's a mix of history-of-sushi and biography-of-a-sushi-chef. There's a storyline about the first American training school for sushi chefs (with an interesting variety of students, including a young woman who seems, for most of the book, clueless and doomed to failure), showing the skills needed, the differences between classic Japanese sushi and American style, and the demands of the business. I enjoyed this part of the book, and was pleased to see that poor Kate wound up doing much better than I'd imagined.
But my favorite part of the book dealt with the history of sushi itself, starting with its early days as a way of storing fish - the rice providing insulation and an absorbent bed for, um, leakage. In those days the rice was most definitely NOT eaten, and the fish most definitely NOT fresh, so... quite a change! There are discussions of the types of beneficial molds used to make miso and soy sauce, the paper-making origins of sheets of nori (seaweed), the different varieties of seafood and their care and handling, the transition to modern-style sushi, and some vastly entertaining comparisons between classic styles and the often over-the-top American dishes. (I've enjoyed some of these strongly-sauced sushi rolls, but I do agree that they seem bent on covering up the flavor of the actual seafood, and I generally go for more traditional sushi.) The book has a chapter on how to eat sushi, too - how to respect the fish and the chef by tasting the dish as prepared, rather than soaking it in soy sauce and/or wasabi. As a former soaker-in-wasabi-and-soy, I was a bit embarrassed by that bit, but I did stop doing it once I realized that I liked the subtle flavors of the fish and didn't want to obscure it anymore.
There's lots more here, from historical to culinary to ecological to health-related to cultural. Good book!
[For more on sushi, see the very entertaining Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi and Sashimi, from the food-based manga series.]
It looks very interesting, and I will be keeping this one here.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
☺ Happy Traveling, Book! ☺