"壽司發達史" Sushi Books by Trevor Corson and Sasha
" 春暮，捕來滿肚子魚子的鯽魚，刮鱗去鰓，清除內臟，填滿鹹鹽，然後在桶裡碼一層魚撒一層鹽，上面壓上大石頭。兩年後出桶，把鹽清洗掉，再和米飯一起醃，一 層米飯一層魚，上面壓上大石頭。醃上一年才熟成，急得俳人蕪村直想在那石頭上面題詩。吃的時候去掉臭不可聞的米飯，切成一片片，魚子部分呈橘黃色，煞是好 看，元祿年間（1688～1704）甚至有「天下第一珍味」之說。若做法演變，只熟成一、二日，米飯略微發酵而帶有酸味，可以和魚一起吃，這就是壽司的原 型。如今壽司的酸味是米飯中攙了醋，魚也不用鹽，越新鮮越好。"
"漢代劉熙解釋飲食，說「鮓」是以鹽米釀魚，熟而食之，日本正是把醃鯽魚的做法叫「熟鮓」。《齊民要術》中記載了具體的做法，雲貴一帶現在也還如法 炮製，可能這做法跟著種植水稻一起傳到了日本。侗族有一種習俗，生孩子的時候把鯉魚醃上，等到結婚時拿出來吃祝筵，有的竟貯藏四、五十年，形狀整然不散。 "
Reviewed by JAY McINERNEY
Two histories trace the evolution of sushi, from fermented goo to fresh global delicacy.
這goo 是黏稠的東西 goo
noun [U] INFORMAL
an unpleasantly sticky substance
(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)
寿司 sushi (-zushi in some compounds such asmakizushi)的要件。
測試 sushi 的方式，盡是些高科技，如用MRI 照「專家」與「一般人」壓握寿司的情況；用風洞（風速）測「魚與米」之「一體感」（黏合力）；又用剪力機量「壓過vs 未壓」之寿司 的受力。當然還有化學、顯微之解釋&..
(Thanks to Hans.)
誰もが大好きな寿司。だが、「日本人は寿司のおいしさをわかってい ない」という衝撃の事実！ 最高級マグロに最高級の新米を使った寿司が、冷凍マグロに古米の寿 司に負けてしまうのはなぜか？ ここにこそ、寿司を極上の一品にする職人の知恵と技術があった 。南国タイに伝わる寿司のルーツ「プラ・ソム」の味は？ 全国に息づく郷土寿司に共通するワザとは？ うまい寿司屋の見分け方は？ など、寿司を味わいつ くす知恵満載のスペシャル版。
☆ルーツは南国タイの発酵食&&寿司のルーツとも言われるタイの伝 統食プラ・ソムは、淡水魚とご飯を発酵させた、酸っぱい魚料理 。琵琶湖周辺の鮒（ふな）寿司とも似ているが、この魚のうまみを引 き出す知恵こそが、寿司のおいしさの原点。江戸時代に 、発酵調味料・酢を使って「インスタント」においしさを追求した結 果が、職人の技となって伝わっていたのだ。その技とは 、米と魚にいかに「酢」をなじませるかにかかっていた。さて 、その方法とは？
☆ 郷土寿司に見る、うまさの理由&&握り寿司が生まれる前から全国 に伝わる郷土寿司。富山の鱒（ます）寿司や、香川のかんかん寿司な ど、不思議なことにさまざまな材料を使いながらも 、ある共通のワザが使われていた。それが「お酢」ならぬ、「押す 」。圧力をかけてご飯と魚を密着させることで、なんとご飯も魚もう まみ成分の量が大幅にアップする。一体なぜなのか？
☆職人の握りのワ ザ&&「究極のおいしさとは、ネタとシャリとの一 体感」という職人。しっかりとシャリを押し固めているにもかかわら ず、かんだとき口の中ではらりとほぐれる絶妙の握り方は 、どのようにして実現できるか。豪華ゲスト陣が、握り寿司に挑戦す る。
When I first tried sushi in Tokyo in the fall of 1977, I thought of myself as an intrepid culinary adventurer who, if he survived the experience, would return to America to tell the incredible, unbelievable tale of the day he ate raw fish on rice balls. Someday, perhaps, I would tell my children. By the time I returned to the States two years later, I found sushi bars in Midtown Manhattan; within a few years, nigiri sushi became the signature forage of the Young Urban Professional. As for my children, they eat sushi three or four times a week. They developed a taste for it when they were living in Nashville, Tenn., which, though it lacks any convincing French or Italian restaurants, has several fine sushi bars. From very different perspectives, “The Zen of Fish,” by Trevor Corson, and “The Sushi Economy,” by Sasha Issenberg, attempt to account for the transformation of sushi from a provincial street snack to the international luxury cuisine of the 21st century.
THE ZEN OF FISH
The Story of Sushi, From Samurai to Supermarket.
By Trevor Corson.
372 pp. HarperCollins Publishers. $24.95.
THE SUSHI ECONOMY
Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy.
By Sasha Issenberg.
323 pp. Gotham Books. $26.
First Chapter: ‘The Zen of Fish’ (June 10, 2007)
Although raw fish is generally the first thing we think of when we think of sushi, it didn’t start out that way. “The Japanese tradition of eating fresh raw fish has nothing to do with sushi,” Corson tells us. “Sushi began as a way of preserving old fish.” Rice farmers in Southeast Asia would pack fish in jars with cooked rice to preserve it. The fermented result tasted more like stinky cheese than like fresh hamachi; the Japanese, in adopting the strategy, gradually shortened the fermentation time, developing a fresher style of sushi that still relied on fermented rice for its distinctive sour taste. This fish, usually carp, was salted and pressed in rice under a stone. Sashimi, in the form of raw fish, was something else again, an aristocratic delicacy little known to the urban masses.
The eureka moment when fresh fish was first squished onto a ball of vinegared rice and eaten on the spot is lost to us, but it happened somewhere in Edo (soon to be Tokyo) during the 19th century. Some hungry soul got tired of waiting for his sushi to ferment. What we now think of as sushi — Edo-mae nigiri — was invented as fast food for laborers, served by outdoor vendors from small carts. Soy sauce was offered, probably to mimic the fermented fish taste of the earlier style. The Tokyo earthquake of 1923 leveled the city and dispersed many of the city’s sushi chefs, who took Tokyo-style nigiri sushi to other parts of the country.
In the mid-1960s a restaurant called Tokyo Kaikan opened one of the first sushi bars in Los Angeles. There, a chef named Ichiro Mashita, unable to find any fresh toro, started substituting creamy avocado for the fatty tuna belly, eventually coming up with the California roll, winning the eternal gratitude of my son Barrett and millions of other gaijin. Los Angeles was the beachhead for the sushi invasion, attracting many Japanese chefs eager to make their fortunes and to circumvent the grueling 10-year apprenticeship required in their homeland. Others followed Japan’s corporate envoys to New York during the boom years of the Japanese economy. In 1983, the New York Times restaurant critic, Mimi Sheraton, awarded four stars to Hatsuhana, a Midtown sushi den — the official imprimatur for the new cuisine.
Trevor Corson’s “Zen of Fish” bounces between Los Angeles and Japan, as he follows the trials of a recent class of the California Sushi Academy, founded in 1998 to train would-be American sushi chefs. It’s a clever narrative strategy — the reader learns the practice and history of sushi alongside the students. On the other hand, his decision to focus on the least promising student — a young woman who is squeamish about touching fish and is afraid of sharp knives — makes for a sometimes frustrating and pedestrian journey. Given Corson’s apparent mastery of Japanese and of original source material, one can only assume the samurai and Zen clichés result from the student’s limited point of view. (“Kate liked Toshi immediately. He was cheerful and stern at the same time, like a monk who was also a kung-fu warrior.”) The monk/warrior head of the academy, Toshi Sugiura, comes across as a colorful if enigmatic character, a profligate party boy and self-appointed guardian of sushi traditions. On the other hand, Corson’s portrait of the American students, as opposed to the glimpses we catch of the single Japanese acolyte, could be used to buttress the view that gaijin in general, and women in particular, don’t have the stuff to make it behind the sushi bar. But hey, somebody’s got to man the counter at all those sushi bars springing up in Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Fortunately, the classroom scenes are intercut with authoritative, often amusing, chapters on sushi history, marine biology and the physiognomy of taste. While the students hack away at mackerel, Corson serves up bite-size explanations of the invention of soy sauce, the sex life of red algae and the importance of umami, that mysterious fifth taste that underlies so much of Eastern cuisine. His chapter on rice, a subject that Americans take for granted, is itself worth the price of the book.
Corson’s chapter on the bluefin tuna is surprisingly brief. Sasha Issenberg, on the other hand, devotes most of “The Sushi Economy” to the bluefin, which he considers the totem animal of the global economy. “In few places,” Issenberg writes, “are the complex dynamics of globalization revealed as visibly as in the tuna’s journey from the sea to the sushi bar.”
Issenberg posits the bluefin tuna market and the sushi economy in general as an instance of good globalization, a theoretical counterpoint to the Slow Food movement, founded in 1986 to protest the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome; the resulting coalition promotes the virtues of regional cuisine and ingredients and “amounts to what some have labeled the culinary wing of the antiglobalization movement,” he writes. But the global sushi trade, as Issenberg portrays it, is a curiously old-fashioned market subject to the vagaries of nature and a complex network of personal relationships. “It is one of the last areas in which human beings remain hunter-gatherers.” Issenberg takes this argument pretty far. “Through sushi, we see that ... integrity does not need to come only from defending the tribal honor of terroir, but is to be uncovered in movement, as well. Conquering distance, geographical and cultural, can be a triumph of the liberal values of mobility and interdependence, empowering local communities instead of threatening them.” Environmentalists might take exception to this sunny characterization; wild bluefin stocks are not likely to survive our appetite for maguro, and the jets that transport their carcasses from Boston to Tokyo aren’t doing the ozone any good. Still, he’s got a good story to tell.
In 19th-century Tokyo, tuna was regarded as an inferior fish; the Japanese craving for the red flesh of bluefin and bigeye didn’t really develop until after the war. The growing appetite for bluefin, the most prized of the tuna, mirrored the growth of the Japanese economy, depleting wild stocks in the waters around Japan. Meantime, a Japan Airlines employee named Akira Okazaki was trying to find a way to fill the empty cargo holds of returning JAL flights, planes that had flown to North America full of Japanese manufactured and electronic goods. Not long after visiting Japan’s famous Tsukiji fish market and observing the high price paid for bluefin tuna, Okazaki learned that the fish were abundant in the Eastern Atlantic, where they were considered worthless. After convincing reluctant fishermen on Prince Edward Island to seek out bluefin, and after much trial and error with refrigeration, the first important auction of Canadian bluefin was held at Tsukiji on Aug. 14, 1972. By summer of 1974, 91 percent of outgoing cargo on JAL flights from Canada was bluefin bound for Tokyo.
“Sushi had started as a form of preservation,” Issenberg says, “but it was becoming precisely the opposite: a way of using the infrastructure of modernity to chaperone a delicate dish around the world.” Over the course of two decades, he writes, “the average price for bluefin tuna paid to Atlantic fisherman rose by 10,000 percent.” By the mid-’70s, according to Issenberg, a bluefin caught in the Atlantic on Sunday could be eaten for lunch in Tokyo on Wednesday. Which, conveniently enough, is about the exact amount of time it takes bluefin to develop optimal flavor and texture. “The Japanese have a nickname for bluefin — shibi,” Corson writes. “It means ‘four days.’ In the age before refrigeration, when someone caught a bluefin, he buried it in the ground for four days before eating it.”
Issenberg follows the tuna backward from the Tsukiji market to its sources in the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the South Pacific, stopping along the way at Gloucester, Mass., where the Rev. Sun Myung Moon entered the market; at Port Lincoln in South Australia, home of the Tunarama Festival and a thriving bluefin ranching industry; and at Japan’s Kinki University, a center of tuna breeding research. Often entertaining, his journey is at times painfully detailed and deliberate; it takes him two pages to describe the unloading of a single tuna from boat to dock, a passage that feels longer than the flight to Japan.
He recounts the journey of Nobu Matsuhisa, the world’s most famous sushi purveyor, from Japan to New York and London by way of Peru, Alaska and Los Angeles. And, more ominously he follows the sushi mogul Takamasa Ueno’s journeys from Hokkaido to Dalian, China. If the consumption of sushi is, as Issenberg proposes, a key indicator of modernization, a signifier of participation in the globalized economy, then it’s only a matter of time before China and India become major markets for bluefin tuna. “To eat sushi,” he writes, “is to display an access to advanced trade networks, of full engagement in world commerce.” The “Iron Chef” star Masaharu Morimoto is opening a place in Mumbai. When people start eating toro in Calcutta, Issenberg says, “India will make a successful claim to a Western ideal of modernity that no number of outsourced call centers can.” Whether the tuna breeding and ranching industries will be able to keep pace with the demand for the new international luxury cuisine after the inevitable collapse of the wild fishery is another story.
Jay McInerney’s most recent books are “The Good Life,” a novel, and “A Hedonist in the Cellar: Adventures in Wine.”
Weekend Beat: Writer tracks sushi from ocean to plate
The way Sasha Issenberg describes it, globalization sounds almost quaint. Research for his book, "The Sushi Economy," consisted of a culinary quest that brought him to 14 countries on five continents. In addition to tasting sushi that ranged from sublime to stomach-churning, Issenberg discovered a softer side of globalization--one that relies on human interaction and judgment rather than faceless corporate giants.
"I wanted to know where sushi came from. It was what I thought was this really modest journalist proposition in the beginning," Issenberg, 27, said during a recent interview in Tokyo. "I've been eating sushi my whole life, and I couldn't tell you which ocean a single piece of anything came from. I wanted basically to find out--where did this stuff come from, and how did it get to my plate?"
In the course of traipsing around the globe sampling raw fish--the idea of which is enough to make any sushi lover salivate--Issenberg quickly discovered his threshold for too much of a good thing. "When I was reporting the book I very consciously eliminated recreational sushi consumption," he says. "There were days, especially in Japan, where I had sushi twice before noon, and days where I was in places where I should be more excited to be eating the fish than I was, and I just couldn't muster any enthusiasm for it."
The thing that kept him going--through food poisoning in Anchorage and the worst sushi of his life in Argentina--was a curiosity about how things work.
"I have logistical curiosity. I inspect route maps in airline magazines with far more attention than anybody should, and I memorize subway lines for no particularly good reason," he says. "Not only did I not know what ocean it came from, I didn't know how long it had been out of the water, how it got there, if it had been fresh or frozen, if it had been treated at all. I didn't know anything. It struck me that we had this sort of huge disconnect, that we masked or laundered our lack of knowledge about sushi in this word 'fresh.'"
Sushi occupies a unique niche in a time of increasing interest in food health and safety. Why do consumers who pride themselves on buying free-range chickens, grass-fed beef and hormone-free milk spend so little time thinking about where their sushi comes from? It's all about the person behind the counter, Issenberg says. "If you know your chef, you don't need to know where your fish came from, because it came from your chef, and your chef is your intermediary with that world--your agent."
In the book, Issenberg follows fish around the globe--from Prince Edward Island to Narita, Texas to Madrid. He talks to tuna ranchers in Australia and spends time in the kitchen with superstar chef Nobu Matsuhisa. What he finds is a system much more intricate than the average sushi lover knows or even imagines.
Some might find the knowledge disconcerting, far removed from the simple tranquility of the sushi bar. For Issenberg, it's made raw fish even better. According to him, what lies behind the blond wood counters, shoji screens and ice-filled display cases is one of globalization's greatest success stories.
"What I wanted to do was tell a story about global food culture that challenged a lot of the prevailing myths about globalization, which is that when food culture or food business goes global that it has to become impersonal and lose its human element and local knowledge," he says.
"If you actually start looking at the connections that sustain a global business--whether they're connections of products, capital, services, labor or ideas--and you actually look at how those connections are made and maintained, you start to see what people think of as old-fashioned local practices that work even if they take place on a global scale."
The book opens with the story of Japan Airlines cargo manager Akira Okazaki, who in 1971 came up with the idea of using empty space on planes between North America and Japan to transport fish. At the time, there was little demand for bluefin tuna caught in Canada, and sports fishermen regularly sold the meat as cat food.
As unconventional as Okazaki's idea seemed, he knew he was onto something, and eventually--after several long, beer-swigging evenings--he talked a local fisherman into the plan.
"Globalization is more simple and more complex than people think it is. It's more simple because the natural relations that bind people don't essentially change when they're happening between countries," he says. "On the other hand, it's more complex because it's a more dynamic environment and the number of variables in any relationship or business transaction increase greatly."
While Issenberg tells an almost sweet story of globalization, he concedes its drawbacks. "There are environmental repercussions," he says. "If you want to have a carbon-footprint logic, yes, it's troublesome."
That said, Issenberg doesn't have much patience for the ethical merits of buy-local campaigns. "The idea that buying asparagus from somebody down the street is more virtuous than buying asparagus from Chile is really noxious to me," he says. "A lot of these globalization myths basically are these ideological narratives that people manufacture to make nativist claims. There are things you can't say in proper company unless you're saying them about food."
Issenberg is equally dismissive of the "authenticity myth," the notion that culinary traditions have pure origins that are debased by the flow of global commerce, people and ideas.
The much maligned California roll is a prime example of this, Issenberg says, describing its genesis in the 1960s as a natural way of adapting local tastes and resources--avocados--to Japanese cuisine.
"So are the Americans bastardizing Japanese food, are the Japanese bastardizing American food, or is there really no old authentic cuisine? In a global environment, everything is in flux."
Japanese cuisine--which for centuries has incorporated outside influences such as tempura from Portugal and ramen from China--reflects the inevitability of adaptation, Issenberg says. Finally, he can eat his sushi in peace.
"I no longer feel burdened by the expectations of purity or authenticity. I'd been raised to believe that California rolls were somehow an affront to the true sushi," he says. "That's a great weight that's been lifted from me."(IHT/Asahi: July 7,2007)
Waiter, There’s Deer in My Sushi
Chunks of raw tuna at Tsukiji, the famed fish market in Tokyo. The growing demand for sushi in countries like Russia and China and depleting tuna stocks are raising prices, and causing chefs to try other ingredients.
TOKYO, June 24 — Sushi made with deer meat, anyone? How about a slice of raw horse on that rice?
U.S. Accuses Europe of Overfishing Tuna in Atlantic (June 25, 2007)
These are some of the most extreme alternatives being considered by Japanese chefs as shortages of tuna threaten to remove it from Japan’s sushi menus — something as unthinkable here as baseball without hot dogs or Texas without barbecue.
In this seafood-crazed country, tuna is king. From maguro to otoro, the Japanese seem to have almost as many words for tuna and its edible parts as the French have names for cheese. So when global fishing bodies recently began lowering the limits on catches in the world’s rapidly depleting tuna fisheries, Japan fell into a national panic.
Nightly news programs ran in-depth reports of how higher prices were driving top-grade tuna off supermarket shelves and the revolving conveyer belts at sushi chain stores. At nicer restaurants, sushi chefs began experimenting with substitutes, from cheaper varieties of fish to terrestrial alternatives and even, heaven forbid, American sushi variations like avocado rolls.
“It’s like America running out of steak,” said Tadashi Yamagata, vice chairman of Japan’s national union of sushi chefs. “Sushi without tuna just would not be sushi.”
The problem is the growing appetite for sushi and sashimi outside Japan, not only in the United States but also in countries with new wealth, like Russia, South Korea and China. And the problem will not go away. Fishing experts say that the shortages and rising prices will only become more severe as the population of bluefin tuna — the big, slow-maturing type most favored in sushi — fails to keep up with worldwide demand.
Last year, dozens of nations responded by agreeing to reduce annual tuna catches in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans by 20 percent in an effort to stabilize populations. But the decision only seemed to crystallize growing fears in Japan about tuna shortages, helping to push up prices of the three species of bluefin — northern, Pacific and southern — that are considered the best tuna to eat raw.
Since the start of last year, the average price of imported frozen northern and Pacific bluefin has risen more than a third, to $13 a pound, according to Japan’s Fisheries Agency.
Wholesalers say that competition from foreign fishing fleets and buyers has made the top-quality tuna increasingly hard to come by here. Tadashi Oono, who sells big red slabs of tuna from a stall in the sprawling Tsukiji fish market of Tokyo, said that three years ago, he routinely sold two or three top-grade bluefin every day. This year, he said, he sometimes finds only two or three tuna of that quality to sell in a month.
Some culinary enthusiasts say the anguish over tuna shortages may also reflect deeper anxieties in Japan about its recent economic decline, especially when compared with neighboring China.
After World War II, tuna became a symbol of the economic might that allowed Japan to dominate the buying of tuna on world markets from Boston to Cape Town. Japan now consumes about 60,000 tons a year of the three bluefin species, or more than three-quarters of the world’s annual catch, according to the Fisheries Agency.
But as more top-grade tuna ends up in other countries, there are concerns that Japan could one day lose its status as global tuna superpower.
“Fish that would have gone to Tokyo are now ending up in New York or Shanghai,” said Sasha Issenberg, the author of “The Sushi Economy” (Gotham, 2007). “This has been devastating to Japan’s national esteem.”
The tuna shortage is also having a more concrete effect on menus at Japanese sushi bars. Fukuzushi, a midpriced restaurant in a residential neighborhood in Tokyo, is having a tougher time finding high-quality fish at reasonable prices.
The restaurant’s owner, Shigekazu Ozoe, 56, said the current situation reminded him of the last time he had no tuna to sell — in 1973, during a scare over mercury poisoning in oceans when customers refused to buy it. At that time, he tried to find other red-colored substitutes like smoked deer meat and raw horse, a local delicacy in some parts of Japan.
“We tasted it, and horse sushi was pretty good,” he recalled. “It was soft, easy to bite off, had no smell.”
If worse comes to worst, he said, he could always try horse and deer again. The only drawback he remembered was customers objecting to red meat in the glass display case on the counter of his sushi bar.
“One customer pointed and said: ‘You have something four-legged in your fish case? That’s eerie!’ ”
So far, top sushi restaurants have avoided the shortages by paying top yen for premium bluefin caught off domestic ports like Ouma in northern Japan.
“The prices of top-name tuna like Ouma are already as high as they can go,” said Yosuke Imada, owner of Kyubey in the upscale Ginza district of Tokyo. “What will happen is that the prices of lower grades of tuna will rise to catch up.”
That prospect worries Mr. Yamagata of the union of sushi chefs.
Mr. Yamagata, 59, has been experimenting with more creative tuna alternatives at Miyakozushi, a restaurant catering to the business lunch crowd that has been in his family for four generations. He said his most successful substitutes were ideas he “reverse imported” from the United States, like smoked duck with mayonnaise and crushed daikon with sea urchin. He said he now made annual visits to sushi restaurants in New York and Washington for inspiration.
“We can learn from American sushi chefs,” Mr. Yamagata said. “Sushi has to evolve to keep up with the times.”