I’ve been enjoying Trevor Corson‘s The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket, which I heard about in Jay McInerny’s New York Times June 2007 review titled “Raw.” Corson is also the author of the acclaimed The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean (I haven’t read it).
This book has been entertaining and educational so far!
My family loves sushi and I’ve eaten it for as long as I can remember. Growing up, we had make your own sushi for dinner at least once a month.
My dad’s side of the family in particularly can’t get enough of maguro (bluefin tuna) sashimi.
And still I’ve learned so much from this book!
I learned that yanagi, the name of one of my family’s favorite sushi restaurants, means willow and is the name of the primary knife used by sushi chefs, a long, slim, 10 inch blade that ends in a point (and is said to resemble a willow leaf).
I also learned about the other knives used by a sushi chef: usuba (a rectangular blade used to cut vegetables) and deba (a triangular blade for filleting fish).
I found the chapter describing the process of making miso (fermented soybeans) particularly educational and engaging.
I especially liked this quote about the use of MSG (the artificial form of glutamate found naturally in miso and soy sauce) in Western foods from page 23, “The Buddhist vegetarian condiments of ancient Japan are now used to make American factory meat palatable.”
I suppose that appeals to me since I’ve recently read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.
I’m about halfway through the book and eager to learn more!
Back to reading!