“This is the most embarrassing moment of my life!” lamented Alexandra yesterady when we got the call that our pastor friend from Ukraine was arriving in 15 minutes – just in time for dinner. He comes from a culture of potatoes and bread and sausage, but we were about to serve him raw fish! Alexandra was mortified – especially since she was the cook!
We had known since early summer that Brother V. was coming to stay with us for several days during his tour of the States, but we didn’t know when. August? September? For a week? A month? When we finally got the call that he was arriving the next evening to stay with us for 10 days, we were delighted – and frantic. We had to clean the house, wash the sheets, switch around bedrooms, and prepare for his stay.
Just why it didn’t occur to us that he might arrive in time for dinner is now a moot point. We knew that Brother V. likes plain foods. He’s told me so during a phone call a couple of weeks back. “I’m happiest with a hunk of bread, a piece of sausage, and a pickle,” he’d explained after telling me the exotic foods other hosts were feeding him.
But Alexandra wanted to make sushi again last night. She had just learned how to make it a few days back and, I guess, she wanted to practice again. Besides, this expensive treat that we rarely indulged in when we bought the prepared sushi had suddenly become affordable.
“Delighted” doesn’t quite convey the intensity of my joy that Alexandra not only wanted to learn how to make this treat, but that she spearheaded the entire effort. Alexandra had looked up the recipe for making sushi in one of my Japanese cookbooks, then began pestering me to buy her the supplies. I finally succumbed last Friday and took the girls to an oriental grocer for the rice, wasabi, and nori (seaweed), then to a Greek-owned fish market that sells sushi-quality fish.
Sushi became my favorite food when I lived in Japan in the early 1980s, and has remained so. Slowly my husband and children developed a taste for it, and now it’s a treat for all of us. Although I loved sushi from the first bite, it seems that most people develop a taste for it over time. So to serve sushi to someone from a culture where eating raw fresh fish seems barbaric – well, it’s embarrassing for a teenager, especially when she’s the cook!
Brother V. politely tasted the sushi (though we never did tell him it was raw fish), sipped the miso soup (avoiding the tofu and seaweed), and asked for some bread.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)