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making maki sushi  a basic primer for perfect rolled sushi |  1 2 3 4

Apparently I was once a picky eater. Though it surprises me to hear this now, I suppose I do have vague recollections of childhood traumas incurred from being told that the delicious crunchy food I thought was a vegetable was actually pig ear, or jellyfish, or intestinal lining. But these days, I look upon the finicky with a mixture of pity and disdain, for they just haven’t a clue as to what they’re missing by insisting on sticking with "normal" foods. The novel textures, the strange spices, the surprising clashes of flavors that one could never have imagined could have been paired together so successfully … But while I love many ethnic foods -- Cantonese dim sum, Spanish tapas, Vietnamese pho, Indian curries -- none of those even comes close to eliciting the drool reflex as much as sushi does for me. I am a true sushi addict.

It still shocks me when, from time to time, someone I meet wrinkles their nose in distaste at the mention of sushi. Most of the time, said person has never tried it, and is under the mistaken impression that sushi is raw fish. In fact, the term sushi actually refers to seasoned vinegared rice, which may or may not be accompanied by raw fish. (For the record, raw fish served plain is referred to as sashimi).

In the past couple of decades, sushi has become so popular that sushi restaurants can now be found far outside of the major cosmopolitan centers of the world. But this edible art comes at a hefty price; an evening’s indulgence in a sushi restaurant can easily run you upwards of twenty bucks per person … and that isn’t including the beer and sake that you’ll quite likely choose to accompany your meal. Fortunately, making sushi at home is surprisingly easy, and very affordable, particularly if you choose to forgo the fish* and stick with vegetables.

*Note: If you do decide you want raw fish, it is imperative that you seek the most reliable source of fresh fish available. The fish should have been out of the water for no more than 24 hours, and should be properly chilled at all times.

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