The places that you visit can leave a deep impression on you but sometimes it’s more the things you’ve tasted.
It’s like a shadow that goes away then comes back when a light is shown in the right place. Ever since I went to Japan, every once in a while, I get this strange taste in my mouth.
It’s something like seaweed, soy sauce, rice and probably octopus combined into complex layers of tastes.
The taste is good, but comes out of nowhere.
After this happens, I start to attempt to cook foods I had while in Japan. What I end up with is oil burns on pans, pots full of unevenly cooked rice (the stove’s fault, not mine) and a lack of the ingredients that I think I need, but probably don’t.
I have a collection of ingredients to make sushi and other things, as well as an incredibly sharp knife, but something stops me from making sushi in particular.
I once had sushi at the giant fish market in Tokyo. It should, by all means, be the freshest and best sushi, other than having a sushi bar on the fishing trawler that’s catching the fish.
The market has fish that don’t even look like they should exist (there’s some weird fish out there).
I watched a sushi chef cut a tiny carrot into paper-thin sheets with a four-foot long sword. Why did he do this?
To impress me maybe but probably to scare me into eating more, which I did. I don’t want to ruin those memories by making my own sushi with a much smaller knife.
I think whenever I start to adventure into the realm of making foods from places I’ve been – trying to conjure up that Barcelona paella or perfect German cereal – what I’m really trying to do is capture the past. I’m trying to capture a taste that lives and resides in my past.
This taste, like people and places you were at that time, is gone.
It’s like this book I read once, what was it called? The Terrific Terry? The Grand Graspy? I don’t remember.
But the point of that book was to go find some other food and forget about those foods that need a sword to prepare in a way that is dignified.
I think I need to go shopping.
– Arne Petryshen is a reporter for the Grand Forks Gazette