sushi. everybody talks about it. everybody looooooves sushi. holly and i have tried it and yeah, notsomuch.
me, i prefer my sushi the jewish way: smoked and salted. yes, folks, lox. on a bagel. with cream cheese. and maybe a cup of coffee. maybe a little piece of cheese danish on the side…but i digress. my–and holly’s–main issues with sushi are the following: the seaweed. the raw fish. we both don’t like seaweed. and fish we both prefer cooked.
the one and only time i tried sushi was a couple years ago with a then-work friend. i was a little scared. i settled that it was the seaweed that was my big issue, since i decided beforehand to order salmon. it resembles lox, i reasoned, and lox isn’t cooked anyway.
“try the sashimi,” she offered helpfully. “it doesn’t have any seaweed. you’ll probably like it.”
so i hesitantly put it in my mouth and it was all i could do not to gag: it looked like lox. felt like lox. except it was on this bed of sticky rice. and tasted like…nothing. i don’t remember if i swallowed it or not, but i definitely couldn’t have another bite.
fast forward a couple years to last night. we went to a really nice japanese restaurant for a close friend’s birthday get together. holly and i were intrigued by this “bento box” thing, where you basically order four different things from columns a, b, c and d, and it’s presented in a cute little box. b, c and d all had cooked options, so we decided aw hell, this place is so fun, this box thing seems so cool, let’s just, omg let’s order some sushi from column a.
i order a spicy tuna roll “crispy” since that seems to be popular and after all, i’m trying to be part of the crowd here. i figure, i love tuna, and i’ve had it fairly rare–how different could it be? i told holly to order something different so that way we could share. we agree a california roll would be a safe bet, since we thought it was vegetarian.
so the food comes and these boxes, they are so pretty. and there’s the sushi, looking so cute and i’m actually kind of excited about getting into this sushi thing. i can totally do this, i think to myself. totally.
we are taught how to combine the soy sauce and the wasabi, and holly’s like, wait, what’s this? this doesn’t look like avocado or cucumber. the waiter informs us it’s imitation crab meat. say “crab meat” even “imitation crab meat” to us and alarms go off.
i’m kosher, don’t touch crab. holly’s twice removed from crab (another story for another day; let’s just say she doesn’t eat it). everyone at the table starts buzzing that it’s definitely not crab, definitely not. definitely fish. probably cooked. holly eyes it suspiciously.
i go first. i dip the pretty roll into the soy sauce/wasabi mixture and, clueless dork that i am, bite into half of it and try to get the rest out of my mouth, and i’m having a helluva time of it b/c the seaweed’s so tough. i basically have to rip it apart with my teeth and the other half plops down into the sauce. and i surprise myself by…liking it!
“oh my GOSH i LIKE this!” i exclaim.
amy, who’s teaching us how to do the whole sushi thing, is like “good!! that’s awesome!”
“but man, it’s tough to bite through!”
amy, probably the world’s most non-judgmental sushi teacher, is like, “well, you’re actually supposed to put the whole thing in your mouth.”
“ohh,” i say.
i take the other half, drowning in the sauce by now, and pop it in my mouth. it’s good, i decide. right on. i’m cool now. i can tell ppl i eat sushi ! i think. i am suddenly feeling like one of the “in” kids.
meanwhile holly’s staring at her sushi, trying to decide if she’s going to eat it or not, since it’s associated with crabmeat, even tho there’s not a licka crab meat in the thing. we’re informed that it’s an avocado roll that’s vegetarian. not a california roll. oh. well, live and learn, we figure.
holly, unlike me, manages to get the whole thing down in one bite. doesn’t really like it. chases it with a beer. ok, it was actually fried chicken, she’s informing me now, as she reads this post over my shoulder. but she did have a beer, too, which probably also helped.
“it’s not that bad,” she says. “but i definitely needed the chaser,” she tells me.
meanwhile, i’m trying to figure out this whole pop-the-whole-piece-of-sushi-in-your-mouth thing. i decide to go for it. i dip it in the sauce mixture and pop it in my mouth.
ohmygoshi’mgoingtothrowup, i think. i immediatley panic. what does one do in these sorts of situations?? when you’re at a birthday party at a nice restaurant and the special birthday girl is sitting directly across from you and your mouth is full of raw fish, seaweed and rice and you’re gonna barf if you don’t spit it out and there’s nothing but cloth friggin napkins. i’ll tell you what you do: you grab the teenytiny paper napkin under your iced tea, wait til no one’s looking, spit it in there, secretly shove it in your bento box and cover the whole thing with pickled ginger. that’s what you do. then you order a cocktail even tho you barely ever drink (captain & coke) to calm your nerves b/c you’re about to get an anxiety attack b/c you’re a huge dork.
even tho the flavor was ok, something about having the whole thing in my mouth–all the textures, the rice and the seaweed and the squishy fish. it was just too much to take. and i have a fairly strong stomach. holly says we’re going to try it again, and try to like it doggone it. but i say aw hell no. seaweed can stay in the ocean and anything that was once living needs to cooked. or at least smoked. and served over cream cheese.
One of the many things I love is sushi – vegetarian sushi, that is. I know it’s not *real* sushi, but still I love it: avocado roll, inari, lots of other kinds. If you go to a decent sushi restaurant they’ll probably have a good vegetarian plate — worth a try, maybe?
ps: bought fish the other day for this lunch I’m doing, mentioned to the guy I don’t eat it … he says, ‘Being vegetarian must be a challenge. I could just eat fish raw it’s so good.’ Le sigh.
yeah, see i would do vegetarian sushi, but it’s the whole seaweed thing. also: that guy must *really* love fish.
I like sushi, but I’m very picky about what kind. It has to be the tiny rolls (the big ones are too much for me) and has to have lots of wasabi. You put enough wasabi on anything it won’t matter what it tastes like. 😉