I think the first time we made sushi ourselves was when we lived in Portland. Mark and I and a fellow roommate had emerged out of our long time vegetarianism to include fish and we started going out to eat sushi like we were making up for lost time. It quickly became expensive. So one day we went to this little Japanese market that sold sushi grade fish near our house and we read up on how to correctly make sushi rice. People, the rice is the key, because if you don’t prepare it right the sushi won’t taste right. It took us a couple of times, but the trick is to fan the rice as you carefully fold in the vinegar/sugar/salt mixture. It’s also best not to use a metal bowl while you do this. Wooden is best. Fanning the rice helps the heat and moisture evaporate quickly while making the rice appropriately sticky (note: I am not an expert in sushi rice. I’m not even Japanese, so feel free to chime in if you are and this is like, completely wrong).
We thought it would be fun for the girls to fan the rice, but after a few minutes of frantic fan waving that involved fanning everything but the rice, Mark just mixed the rice right near an actual fan. I’m not sure why we’ve never done this with the kids before, but it’s been about 15 years since we made sushi at home. When we went to roll the seaweed we were surprised we didn’t have a bamboo mat anymore, but I think they came out fine and we had plenty of rolls (in miracles of all miracles, Claudine has recently decided that she likes raw salmon). We even found a stray roll that had managed to camouflage itself on our black kitchen counters as we were cleaning up after dinner. It reminded me of the times the cats used to steal whole, uncut sushi rolls off the kitchen counter when we made them in Portland. Sometimes we’d find them hours later under the couch or something.
It was pretty fun to show the girls how to make something that we’ve only ever ordered in restaurants before. While Mark was making the rice, Mia exclaimed that it smelled like a sushi restaurant in here (see? It’s all about the rice!). And I don’t think we’ll wait another 15 years to do this at home either.
* by the way, there is such a thing as a raw fish limit. I always used to think that I could eat sushi everyday, all day till I couldn’t eat no more, but no. Apparently I have a raw fish limit and I reached it that night.