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Book cover for The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice

The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice

Author: Trevor Corson

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Food

Themes: Sushi, History

Format: Audio book

Finished: October 8, 2017

Purchase link

Amanda and I did intense traveling for the month of September and October, so we listened to a bunch of audiobooks. We picked this one because we loved Trevor Corson’s The Secret Life of Lobsters. Story of Sushi was a fast, fun, informative listen on the history of, culture around, and proper way to prepare sushi.

In order to write this book, Trevor Corson spent months following the students of a sushi academy in Hermosa Beach, CA. Just like in his lobster book, Corson weaves science, history, politics, tradition, culture, and economics into a fascinating tale about sushi. Parts of the audiobook were hilarious because the narrator pronounced all Japanese words with their proper Japanese pronunciation, complete with their strong, forceful emphasis. Even words we commonly use in English, such as miso. Amanda had quite a laugh over the next week when we’d use Japanese words in regular conversation and pronounce them like the narrator.

I learned that:

  • Sushi rice is sweetened.
  • Soy sauce is a byproduct of the miso making process.
  • Sushi started as fish fermented in rice, then morphed into a cheap fast food for laborers in 19th century tokyo.
  • The future of sushi might be in the United States because it is a dying art in Japan.
  • You are supposed to put soy sauce and/or wasabi on the fish, not the rice. If you use it at all, that is. Most chefs already add a little depending on the taste of the fish.
  • You are supposed to pick it up with your hands, not chopsticks.
  • Spicy tuna is a way to use up bad cuts of tuna or old tuna. The spice masks the fishy flavor.