Fake Food, Sodas & Maki Sushi
Image Credit: Shogun Japanese Steakhouse
I was shopping at Woodman's this week in hopes of finding ingredients to make California Rolls. I'm a big fan of Japanese Sushi. My favorites are shrimp, tuna and salmon nested on a bed of Japanese rice. California Rolls are next in line. They are, however, not a real Japanese dish, so I learned.
You can’t walk into a sushi restaurant without finding the California roll on the menu. Despite their prevalence in sushi culture, the history of the roll is enigmatic. The most commonly accepted creator of this roll is Ichiro Mashita.
Mashita was a Los Angeles sushi chef in little Tokyo. His early version of the California roll dates back to the early 1960s. At the time, he implemented the standard wrap with nori seaweed on the exterior of the roll, but Americans would often remove it thinking it was inedible. As a result, the reverse roll with rice on the outside was born. At the time he created the roll, imitation crab was not available, so he used real crab. Sesame seeds, cucumber, and mayonnaise were also absent from the original recipe.
Some people believe that the inventor is Japan’s Hidekazu Tojo, who moved to Vancouver in the 1970s. Chef Hidekazu Tojo from Canada claims to have started the version of sushi in which the rice is on the outside of the roll. His claims also include the addition of cucumber, cooked crab, and avocado, which can be seen as support for his claim since those are the current ingredients of the California roll.
Ken Seusa is another chef from Los Angeles who asserts ownership of the innovation. He has the earliest documented claim for the California roll, and per food writer, Andrew F. Smith, the claim stood uncontested for more than 20 years.
Although interesting, wherever the hell it came from is of no interest to me. A well-made California roll is delicious. So, I made some this week. I found all the ingredients at Woodman's and butchered my way through the process of rolling the (what I call) cigars, four of them, which yielded 24 individual pieces ― rice, artificial crab, avocado, toasted sesame seeds and Japanese mayonnaise, wrapped in Nori sheets. Damn, were they good!
I was in the mood for Asian soup. Against my better judgement, I purchased an Annie Chun's Vietnamese-Style PHO Soup Bowl. I just had to try it. Low and behold, I will never buy it again. It smelled and tasted like week-old socks. Bland and musty. Used dishwasher water?
I have been obsessed this week with making homemade root beer. The ingredients arrived today and I will brew some this weekend. Meanwhile I made some ginger ale, and this morning I opened my naturally carbonated Mango-Blueberry-Apple Soda. Both were fabulous! For certain, it will be a long time since I will buy commercial sodas again.
Anyway … Talk to you later.
Christoph ― The Bourgeois Chef ™
Reference: Shogun Japanese Steak House
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