When the word “sushi” gets mentioned, most of the time it’s only a couple of seconds before misinformation begins to fill the air.  Admit it, the words, “I won’t eat raw fish” have passed your lips.  I may have even just paraphrased in a much more gentle and tolerant tone than your exclamation.  But “sushi” does not mean raw fish nor does it even imply raw fish.
Sushi, or more closely “zushi” as the Japanese pronounce it, means “sour” and the term implies short-grain, white rice, washed many times, mixed with vinegar, sugar, salt, and sometimes sake (Japanese rice wine).  Traditionally, the mixing is done with a hangiri, which is a round, flat-bottom wooden tub or barrel, and a wooden paddle


Now, as a dude who began eating sushi 28 years and eight months ago, this is very important to me, and a source of constant frustration.  In my experience Chinese cooks don’t seem to get it and it doesn’t matter to me what you put on top of the rice if the rice isn’t prepared right.  So when I hear that the sushi at the Asian Buffet isn’t very good or someone doesn’t like sushi because they tried it in Georgetown, I bristle.  Of course it’s not very good, it’s not sushi!
Real sushi made with loving care and tradition by a Japanese master is one of the most beautiful creations I have ever experienced.  Light, fluffy, slightly sticky, almost sweet yet almost sour, and a million miles away from that stuff at the Asian Buffet!  Now, where do we go from here?  It is served one of three main ways:

1.      Nigirizushi (握り寿司, literally hand-formed sushi) consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi (green horseradish paste), and a topping draped over it.

2.      Makizushi (巻寿司, literally rolled sushi) is a cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu.  Makizushi is generally wrapped in nori (seaweed paper).


3.      Temaki (手巻, literally hand rolls) is a large cone-shaped piece of nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about ten centimeters (4 in) long, and is eaten with fingers because it is too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks.

(None of the photographed examples contain raw fish.)

     I wish I could go into more depth because the world of sushi is a truly beautiful one, but I’m blogging here, not writing an article for the New Yorker.  I urge you to find an authentic Japanese restaurant and try some sushi.  Call first to make sure they’re really Japanese.  Two fine establishments in Lexington are Sugano and Tachibana.  Go for it!  It’s extremely healthy!   As my big brother Tim says, “Pay the sushi chef today, or pay the doctor tomorrow!”


Who Do You Judge?

I was reading in the Gospel of John chapter 8, and the first 11 verses are about Jesus and the adulteress about to be publicly stoned by a self-righteous mob.  Here, read it for yourself:


1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”


The more I meditate on these words, I hear Jesus saying directly to me, “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than YOU!”


Great advice from the Master to all of us.