I am no foodie (I hate that word and everybody is a goddamn foodie nowadays), no gourmand (too poor), and no cullinary snob. As I have often remarked to friends, I can move freely between the high and the low, in food and music, literature and film. Some low culture is damn low and crap, some high culture is unattainable and crap, yes, but a soft-boiled egg can be as good or even better than a souffle. But what does one do in the face of obvious high-end eating experiences, and without the moola or any chance ever really of reaching the multiple orgasms described by Nick Tosches in the land of raw fish and elsewhere.
“If You Knew Sushi” is a wide-ranging, at times arrogant (as only gourmands can be) discourse on sushi and related delights. And it’s a good read. But it also made me realise that what passes for sushi etcetera in most places is almost always not quite what it should be. The essay had me salivating and squirming at many various points, and so much so that I cannot imagine myself eating sushi again, knowing that what I might be eating in a sushi joint other than the ones Tosches mentions will just not be the ‘real’ thing.
This happens with almost all of what we do, read, consume. Almost any cultural product with which we may interact can be said to be so far removed from an authentic origin, that one can hardly talk about it as having any substance (think pop music, think television, think about your own heavily mediatised life). And mostly we get along and enjoy whatever this might be – no Kobe beef, but South Africa produces good beef and I enjoy a good steak.
But with sushi it just feels wrong to be satisfied with whatever you can get even at local top-end joints, and to eat it without real wasabi. How will it be possible to eat sushi again after knowing what is possible? Read it here.