Growing up on the east coast, we saw a lot of fish on the dinner table. Cod, halibut, mackeral, flounder, herring (sardines to the inland crowd), anything you could pull out of the ocean with a hand-line or a net. Shellfish, too… crabs, scallops, lobster, shrimp, you name it… One of my cousins got so tired of taking lobster sandwiches to school for lunch, he used to try to trade for his classmate’s baloney-on-Wonderbread.
Like I say, we saw a lot of fish, but not raw fish rolled up with rice and seaweed and who knows what all mysterious ingredients — Sushi? What’s that? In fact, we had these really cool bamboo placemats, when I was a kid — my aunt sent them to us when she was living in Tokyo. Who knew they were really makisu, way back then?
Oh, go ahead and laugh!
Now, of course, sushi and I are old pals…
As an adult I’ve sampled sushi at every opportunity — and liked a good lot of it — but up until now, although sushi is just ridiculously expensive if someone else prepares it, I’ve never tried making it myself. Getting the right ingredients out here in the boondocks always held me back, I guess — some planning ahead (not my strong suit) would be required. That, and the fact that our sushi-mat placemats have long since worn out and gone!
But just for the adventure of it — all spontaneous-like — I propped up a library copy of Sushi for Dummies, got out a (clean) roll of that rubber matting that’s made to line shelves, called it my makisu, and got busy with the sticky rice. Of course, I had plenty of fish… No wasabi in the cupboard, though, so I went with just a dab of horseradish sauce as the next best thing… and substituted good old Grand Manan dulse in place of Nori seaweed — et voila! “East Coast Sushi”! And yes, it wasn’t bad at all!