The Story of Sushi | Trevor Corson

Summary of: The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
By: Trevor Corson


Dive into the fascinating world of sushi with Trevor Corson’s ‘The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice’. This book takes you on a journey through the history, cultural significance, and appreciation of sushi in Japan and beyond. Explore the true meaning of the word ‘sushi’, the art of crafting perfect nigiri, and the role of ritual and tradition in sushi making. The summary unveils some of the secrets and lesser-known facts about this delicacy, highlighting the importance of ingredients, preparation, and presentation. Embark on an adventure that will captivate your senses and deepen your understanding of this world-famous dish.

Sushi: A Healthy and Delightful Experience

In Japan, sushi is not only a delicacy but also a source of good health and strength for adults and children. A famous children’s story in Japan tells of a picky eater who becomes weak and sickly, but after seeing the love and care his mother puts into making sushi, he learns to love food, grows up to become a famous sushi chef, and takes care to prepare the perfect sushi for each customer. Californian soccer player Kate Murray discovered the benefits of sushi as a young adult in the early 2000s. After suffering from illness and kidney disease due to depression and an unhealthy diet, Murray discovered sushi and fell in love with the food, which helped her metabolism kick back into gear. This led her to become a sushi chef herself and unlock many more sushi secrets. Today, sushi’s appreciation has spread beyond Japan and is considered a healthy and delightful experience.

The Essence of Sushi

Sushi is more than just fish. The word refers to the rice, and making the rice is a special skill that traditional Japanese sushi chefs train for two years. Originally, the rice was left to ferment in alcohol to act as a preservative for the fish. However, as sushi spread to the West, habits formed that corrupted the traditional enjoyment of sushi. Smothering sushi rolls in a mixture of wasabi and soy sauce ruins the delicate flavors prepared by the chef. Sushi etiquette includes using pickled ginger as a palate cleanser and properly dipping only the top layer of fish in soy sauce.

Crafting the Perfect Nigiri

Learn the art of handcrafting the perfect nigiri by following the general rules every sushi chef follows.

Crafting the perfect nigiri is an art that Japanese sushi chefs spend a lifetime mastering. While the process may seem daunting, there are general rules that every chef follows to achieve the perfect outcome. The primary goal is to make the sushi roll light and airy, which involves a ritualized process of packing the rice together.

To begin, the chef takes a handful of rice into their right hand and shapes it into a cylinder. Then, using their left hand, they flip a slice of fish into their open palm, forming a U-shape to place the rice onto the fish lightly.

The chef then applies gentle pressure to the rice, squeezing it into a triangular shape, and then back into a cylinder. This essential technique allows air to enter the nigiri, ensuring that the sushi roll isn’t too densely packed.

A good sushi roll should be firm enough not to fall apart but loose enough to dissolve easily in one’s mouth. Scientific studies have also shown that the perfect nigiri contains more air, making it lighter and better in quality.

Next, the sushi roll, now topped by the fish, is turned over into the chef’s left hand, where it is pinched into a more rectangular shape. Finally, the chef forms a U-shape with their left hand and lightly presses down on the fish to remove any remaining air, ensuring that the fish stays on the roll.

The chilled fish is handled just long enough to warm it up slightly so that it can be served at body temperature, the ideal condition for sushi. Following these general rules can help anyone create the perfect nigiri and impress their dinner guests.

The Untold Story of Shrimp in Sushi

Shrimp nigiri is a recent addition to the sushi menu, which gained popularity after World War II. The Pandalus borealis shrimp is known for its unique transformation from a sexually active bachelor to a female. However, ethical concerns arise surrounding its ethical implications, including ripping tails off live shrimp. Additionally, shrimp fishing and farming methods pose significant environmental threats, such as the destruction of millions of acres of mangrove habitat.

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