Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Soy sauce is so totally last month
Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I don't believe in heaven but if I did it would look distinctly like a sushi bar. My bar stool would have a gilded hamachi hand roll on the back. The place wouldn't be called "Cheers" - that wouldn't be right. It's in Tokyo, after all. Perhaps "Kampai!" and yes, everyone would know my name.
So when I sat in my naturopath's office waiting impatiently for the "list" while he danced around the food allergy elephant in the room, all I could think about was sushi. I believed in that moment I could go without a lot of things for 3 months: friends, money, shelter, no problem. Could I go without sushi? I didn't think so.
There's this magazine for food allergy folks. It's got this very sad little name. It's called: Living Without. I first learned about this magazine when I was hired as a consultant to a family with many food allergies. They wanted help with recipes and resources. I almost couldn't stand to point them in the direction of a resource called Living Without. That was in the halcyon days when I was naively awash in Living With and thought that it was terribly depressing of the publishers to focus on the Without. Then my doctor tells me I can't have vinegar or soy sauce because they are fermented with yeast. Rice vinegar is what makes sushi rice so yummy. Soy sauce is the ketchup of Asia! Damn my doctor.
No matter! I can devise a work-around and work around I do!
It goes like this: I order a take-out deluxe sashimi dinner from my local sushi bar. Miso soup please, no onions thank you. When I get home my lab and cocker spaniel run to their invisible marks at my side, acutely aware of their roles in this now semi-weekly play. I feed the lab the egg and the cocker the snapper-ish/bass-like fish that I haven't been able to properly identify and my limited Japanese is no help. I throw the pickled ginger and the daikon radish in the compost and try not to sigh when doing this. I pull out a bag of my own nori and cut it into quarters. I take the side of plain steamed rice they give you and make my own sushi rice by adding a few capfuls of apple cider vinegar, some sesame seeds and sea salt and a little bit of agave syrup for sweetness. Next, I grab a small bowl and squeeze half a lemon into it and stir in some sea salt. Now it's show time. I grab the nori and make my own hand rolls. Some rice, some hamachi, a little bit of shiso leaf, a smear of wasabi and I roll it up like a big fish cigarette and dip it into the lemon-salt.
It's so fabulous I hardly miss the soy sauce and its inherent wheat and yeast. After all, everyone knows Lemon Salt is the new Soy.
at 8:33 PM