Did you know?
- Today's sushi began as a type of fast food--the 19th-century Japanese equivalent of a McDonald's drive-thru.
- ushi aficionados never look at a menu, seldom use chopsticks, and avoid extra soy sauce and wasabi.
- The knives used by sushi chefs are the direct descendants of samurai swords, and the blades must be sharpened and reshaped every day.
- The priciest ingredients of modern sushi--bluefine tuna filled with fat--was once despised by the Japanese that they fed it only to their cats.
Everything you never knew about sushi—its surprising origins, the colorful lives of its chefs, the bizarre behavior of the creatures that compose it—is revealed in this entertaining documentary account by the author of the highly acclaimed The Secret Life of Lobsters.
When a twenty-year-old woman arrives at America's first sushi-chef training academy in Los Angeles, she is unprepared for the challenges ahead: knives like swords, instructors like samurai, prejudice against female chefs, demanding Hollywood customers—and that's just the first two weeks.
In this richly reported story, journalist Trevor Corson shadows several American sushi novices and a master Japanese chef, taking the reader behind the scenes as the students strive to master the elusive art of cooking without cooking. With the same eye for drama and humor that Corson brings to the exploits of the chefs, he delves into the biology and natural history of the creatures of the sea. He illuminates sushi's beginnings as an Indo-Chinese meal akin to cheese, describes its reinvention in bustling nineteenth-century Tokyo as a cheap fast food, and tells the story of the pioneers who brought it to America. He shows how this unlikely meal is now exploding into the American heartland just as the long-term future of sushi may be unraveling.
The Zen of Fish is a compelling tale of human determination as well as a delectable smorgasbord of surprising food science, intrepid reporting, and provocative cultural history.