Sushi for the Home Cook

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Sushi has been on my mind lately because my hometown has a new sushi restaurant opening soon in our quaint little downtown area.   Every time I drive past the new place, the outside teases with its promise of an opening coming soon for “Shakou Sushi.”  There are other places in town where sushi is available, but this will be the first that is a specialty restaurant.  The Japanese word for shakou means “social life,” and the restaurant promises to be “a new spin on a casual sushi bar.”  Can’t wait.
I have to admit that even five years ago I was not a huge fan of sushi, but I have been slowly coming around the past couple years.  I think I used to be afraid of the potentially deadly raw fish scare.  My two girls love sushi and have convinced me to try it at various times.  I have come to love sushi, at least most of it.  I need to learn a lot more about it, which is why I was excited to find this book last weekend.  I know that being a sushi chef in Japan is a highly regarded profession that takes years of training, but since I will never be a sushi chef, a book that makes it easy for the home cook is good for me. 
My first experience of making sushi was just last month aboard the Celebrity Infinity cruise to Alaska.  You can read the full blog here, which includes the cooking class,  but I’ll show you a couple photos.  When my daughter Kristina and I walked into the room where the sushi class was being held, here is the table that greeted us.  It was stunning!


Each participant had their own work area for making sushi.

This was my first attempt at making sushi:

I obviously have a lot to learn, which is why I am excited to have this book.  Not only do the recipes sound wonderful, but it has step-by-step instructions plus a glossary of terms, such as tezu, which is vinegared water; toro which is the oily part of a tuna fillet, and unagi, which is eel.  Eel?  Not sure about that one yet. 

Sushi is food as art and a cultural experience.  According to the author, Kumfoo Wong, it’s not sufficient for food to simply satisfy your appetite.  Texture and appearance are just as important, because one must find balance and harmony in the size, shape, and color of sushi.  Japanese cooking is very visual, but must also feed the soul.

I’ll report back on our new sushi restaurant in a future blog.  However, don’t count on tales of eating eel. I’m not that brave yet.
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