Okay, so….those who know me know that I have not always been “culinarily adventurous.” As a child, I was an extremely picky eater (according to my mother, my diet consisted of mac & cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, milk, and Tang). And even until about 10 years ago, I still ate very few vegetables and rarely tried new things. I credit my husband’s obsession with cooking shows, which show foods I’d never tried prepared in ways that looked intriguing, with fostering my new willingness to venture into untasted realms.
One such recent venture has been sushi. Until a few months ago, I told anyone who mentioned it that “sushi is actually Japanese for ‘hey, you forgot to cook that!’” But my patient husband, and two neighborhood restaurants, finally changed my mind. We have a nearby Chinese buffet which serves “Americanized” Chinese dishes, fresh hibachi, and a small assortment of pre-prepared sushi rolls. Hubby discovered the sushi and quickly became a fan. One roll he was sampling had a lovely coating of fried batter and a drizzle of spicy mayo; when he saw me eyeing it, he said, “would you like a bite?” And that was when I discovered sushi rolls. (It turned out to be a tempura California roll, so there was nothing raw in it, very helpful for new sushi fans. I have finally found some varieties of raw fish I enjoy — yellowtail is my favorite — but there are several I absolutely don’t!)
We also have another Asian restaurant in our community that serves Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Their specialty is made-to-order sushi and sashimi for half off the menu price. Our first visit there, we tried the tempura California roll, and it was even better than the one from the buffet. Since then, we have enjoyed their Chinese lunch special as well as their sushi lunch special (2 small rolls plus miso soup or salad for $5). I have even ordered takeout for lunch on several work days, because it’s such a great deal! Therefore, sushi has become my symbol for “culinary-never-say-never,” because I have discovered that I was wrong all along: sushi is Japanese for “fresh and yummy!”