Sushi, that so typical Japanese food, has a history going back to prehistoric times. Over the centuries it has been refined into a surprising number of variations, from the simplest everyday fare–such as tuna wrapped in vinegared rice and crisp vitamin-rich nori seaweed–to elegant and imaginative sushi created for festive occasions. The centerpiece of this book is Edomae-zushi, the delicate, natural, fresh variety first made in Tokyo in the early nineteenth century and now popular throughout the world.
This book is true fun to read. Pictures are spare, elegant, and profuse; for a good ways in the middle of the book, every other page is a full-color photo designed to remind you how various forms of sushi relate to the passing of the seasons.
The text is clear – very readable – and the author’s love for the history, tradition and eating of sushi shines through. Tips on what to order don’t feel like prescriptions so much as suggestions; I especially appreciated the explanation of which types of fish are good during different parts of the year. The book is crammed with practical information like this – Omae points out that maki rolls should be eaten first, not because of some obscure protocol, but because the seaweed-paper wrapper may not hold up as moisture soaks into it. And it may sound obvious in retrospect, but I’d never actually realized that you’re not supposed to dip the rice part of nigiri-zushi into the soy sauce; rather, you hold it ‘upside down’ and just wet the fish.
This book will make you want to go out and eat more sushi, and if you’re a thoughtful person like me, all that good information will probably enhance the experience. 5 stars!