All The More Reason


Sushi Sushi Sushi Sushi
May 30, 2007, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Environment

Sushi is a word that just about works as a tongue twister that starts to sound like something else when the tongue gets tired. Here is a ripping piece by an author named Nick Tosches on that celebrated aspect of Japanese cuisine. There are so many aspects of this article that are of interest that I worry only citing a few phrases does great injustice to the whole piece. I continue nonetheless. The following is his very tosh description of why sushi is so popular in the States.

Why? I’m sure there are social-anthropological theories, all of them bound to be as boring as they are meaningless. The real answer, I think, is simple.

America is addicted to sugar, but it seeks increasingly to veil its addiction. Power Bars. Sounds healthy. Main ingredient: fructose syrup. Almost 25 percent sugar. The guy, Brian Maxwell, who got rich selling these things, selling sugar as nutrition, swore by them and croaked at the age of 51. Eat a Power Bar and nobody gives a glance. Run up a bag of dope and people look at you funny. I don’t get it. How about a nice, large Tazo Chai Frappuccino Blended Crème from Starbucks? Sounds healthy—I mean, after all, chai—and classy too: crème? Sugar content: 17 teaspoons.

A killer sugar addiction, a preoccupation with health, no matter how misguided, and pretensions, or delusions, of worldly sophistication. Sushi perfectly satisfies them all.

Tosches goes on to explain how the rice is sweetened as is often the soy sauce people use. As for me, I managed to develop a taste for the glory of sashimi. For me, it was the intoxicating mixture of the salty variant of soy and the wasabi.

There’s one other part of this piece that is simply hilarious. Tosches wishes to satisfy his desire for eating whale meat.

I want to know what kind of whale makes for the best grub. Eva-san talks to the boss. He makes a forlorn gesture to a poster on the wall that pictures all the species of whales in the sea, and, forlornly, he expounds awhile.

The great blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived, is by far the best, he says. But, as it’s considered one of the world’s most endangered species, it has been unobtainable for more than 35 years. I feel for the guy.

“No black market?”

“Too big to hide.”

J.S.

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