I just came across a fascinating sushi-related interview at slate.com while doing some work "research" (the joys of being self employed...no one looking over my shoulder!). Slate contributor Sara Dickerman interviews two authors who have recently published books about sushi. The books are The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg, and The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, From Samurai to Supermarket by Trevor Corson.
The interview focuses on a whole range of issues: the history of sushi, present and future trends. Really interesting stuff that not only fed my mind, but has me craving some of Hama Sushi's super fresh nigiri. My favorite exchange.....
Slate: One of the reasons I think sushi translates well in the United States is because it has a certain similarity to steakhouse culture—the rich meats, the minimal emphasis on sides, and it also caters to male business clientele. There's also this interesting element of eating sushi where you quantify your food—keeping track of ounces or the number of pieces of nigiri you're eating. What's your take on the gestalt of sushi?
Issenberg: In Japan, it really is comparable to steakhouse culture. But in the United States, even though it's overwhelmingly produced by men, it seems a disproportionately feminine experience, and I actually think sushi bars are a far more feminized space than the steakhouse. In the '70s and '80s, when we had sort of a national diet culture emerge, sushi was a perfect way to satisfy that while still being an adventurous diner.
Corson: The flip side of that feminine thing, though, is that maybe there's a kind of masculine macho aspect to eating sushi. Certainly at the beginning, when people like Yul Brenner started eating sushi in Hollywood, it was a dramatic, exotic kind of macho thing to do. You got points for trying something that was different and potentially disgusting to the average palate.
All I can say is I was introduced to sushi by an old girlfriend, virtually every woman I know loves it, and w is if anything more particular and passionate about it than I am.
In the article they also go on to talk about how with depletion of fish stocks in the ocean will sushi become a delicacy for the rich? Should that ever happen, I just want you to know right now I'll be leading the revolution!!