I used to think that sushi was a Great Divider of people - either you loved it, or you hated it. But the more I learn about it, the less I believe that's true. Like many things in life, there is plenty of grey area, and when it comes to sushi, you'll find as many different opinions about it as you do people.
Believe it or not, as adventurous as I am, I didn't try sushi for the first time until just a few years ago. There were three issues that kept me away: 1) it seemed like it could be a little gross since I tend to like my food cooked; 2) I worried about the potential risk of food poisoning; and 3) the expense of experimenting and not liking sushi seemed too high to risk.
One day though, The Boss's friend took her out to a local sushi restaurant, and quite frankly, created a monster. The Boss, who had never had sushi before either, soon insisted I take her out to sushi even if I had to order from the non-sushi menu (note: many sushi restaurant offer some American-Chinese items for those who do not like sushi and prefer their food cooked). But because I am adventurous and was already committed to the restaurant, I thought, "Why not?"
This is a pivotal moment in any new food adventure - that first sampling. The first few pieces didn't gross me out or turn me away. In fact, they weren't half bad. I had had wasabi before and I loved soy sauce, so that worked in sushi's favor (someday remind me to tell you the story of the first time I tried wasabi - it's good for a laugh.). Upon The Boss's recommendation I picked eel, which is cooked, and I also chose a few pieces of spicy salmon. I loved the malt beer the restaurant offered, and I'd also had saki before, so all in all, that first meal went well. I enjoyed the experience.
Over time though I've learned a few things about myself, though. Unlike The Boss, I don't crave sushi. Sometimes I will a little, but the crave passes. This differentiates me from her in that she craves sushi, demands sushi, and devours it on the level that practically makes her a monster for it. All I have to do is mention the word, and a moment later, she's in the car honking the horn wanting to know what the hold up is. For me though, I don't crave the actual food itself so much as I crave the experience, the presentation, the atmosphere -- all of which The Boss enjoys as well, but not greater than the actual food itself.
The one other thing I've learned about sushi is that there is a lot of information available out there, from its history, how to eat it, how to prepare, and all the little tid bits and rituals in between. Google it, YouTube it, and be prepared to spend hours and hours learning about it. And I promise this won't be the last time I write about it.
Until Next Time...
Here's one of many videos explaining how to properly eat sushi, and of course, it says no matter how you've been eating it, you've been doing it wrong.