A JO endorsement is hard to come by. My book endorsement is Trevor Corson’s Zen of Fish.
The idea was to up my sushi game. I wanted to reach that next level that so many people seemed cherish. I sidestepped all of them into a field distressingly bordering snobbery, but more into an appreciation of the fish.
I made it an interactive learning experience. I would read a few chapters then go to a sushi bar in Long Island, Brooklyn or Manhattan and apply what I was reading about. I went by myself. I started sitting at the bar, watching the chef’s movements. I watched where they put their equipment, what came from under the bar, what they kept under the glass. I watched how they took their orders, who took orders, who they conversed with and who they respected.
I learned to talk to the chefs.
Corson’s book is centered around a sushi school in Los Angeles. The students had varying levels of experience coming into the school, and it was interesting to see how they handled their challenges. The book weaves in and out of sushi history, playfully giving facts, little knowns, methods, and happenings around the raw fish world. For me, a person with a very low attention span, this read very easily.
The love was apparent in this book. You can tell that Corson developed relationships with his subjects and tried to make sure he conveyed his material to the readers. There is a section with sushi terms which I made frequent use of, and was happy to find that almost 90 percent of the time when I wasn’t sure of some sushi jargon, it was listed in the back of the book. Thanks.
You’d think I’d be an expert by now, but I’m not. I realize that I know NOTHING about sushi. I am now reading The Sushi Economy by Sasha Issenberg .
I can see my education lately is paying off. The other day I received the best compliment I’ve ever received. Maybe it was because of my fearlessness, interest, or possibly my knowledge of the food… When I sat at the sushi bar and started talking with the chef, he asked me: ‘Are you a chef?’ Hey, what an honor!