Synopses & Reviews
In The Story of Sushi journalist Trevor Corson provides a lively tour of the culture of sushi in America--from the chefs who prepare sushi to the multifarious creatures that compose it.
He escorts the reader behind the sushi bar, through an extensive three-month course at the California Sushi Academy in Los Angeles where he spent a semester shadowing the founder of the Academy and a select group of master chefs and their trainees and experienced first hand what's involved in becoming a naturalist with a knife. In Corson's words, People see sushi chefs working behind the sushi bar and think that's what they do. Customers never see the many hours of prep work that go into getting the sushi bar set up in the first place. Master sushi chefs require knowledge of anatomy and life cycles of the creatures to know what creatures to serve at what time of year and how to break them down from their natural, whole state. All this happens in the kitchen in the afternoon. I take the reader inside that world and show them the skills required. It's much more than just slicing blocks of fish and making rolls and nigiri.
As the story of the chefs and trainees unfolds, he describes the different types of organisms that compose sushi, their behavior, biology, evolutionary origins, ecological niches, and nutritional properties. He discusses the seasonal progression of the organisms and explores the techniques by which they're harvested, including what's the best time for harvesting and why. He then provides a history of sushi's origins and evolution in Japan and its transplantation to the United States via Los Angeles, and most compellingly, considers the future of sushi in America, revealing why the best sushi chefs of the future will most likely not be Japanese and male.
After reading The Story of Sushi, readers will return to their favorite sushi restaurants equipped with a new sense of wonder at the animals and plants on the plate, and a new expertise in how best to appreciate them.
A New York Times
Everything you never knew about sushi— its surprising origins, the colorful lives of its chefs, and the bizarre behavior of the creatures that compose it
Trevor Corson takes us behind the scenes at America's first sushi-chef training academy, as eager novices strive to master the elusive art of cooking without cooking. He delves into the biology and natural history of the edible creatures of the sea, and tells the fascinating story of an Indo-Chinese meal reinvented in nineteenth-century Tokyo as a cheap fast food. He reveals the pioneers who brought sushi to the United States and explores how this unlikely meal is exploding into the American heartland just as the long-term future of sushi may be unraveling.
The Story of Sushi is at once a compelling tale of human determination and a delectable smorgasbord of surprising food science, intrepid reporting, and provocative cultural history.
About the Author
The author of The Secret Life of Lobsters, Trevor Corson has studied philosophy in China, resided in Buddhist temples in Japan, and worked on commercial fishing boats off the Maine coast. He has written for the Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times and is the only "sushi concierge" in the United States. He lives in New York City.