- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 9 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 28 Sept. 2010
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0044Z9FKI
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice Audio Download – Unabridged
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Among the first students Corson presents is Kate Murray, who lacks both cooking skills and confidence. She quickly learns that there are no short-cuts to sushi, even though the meal is composed of little but rice, mostly raw fish, some vegetables and simple sauces. Throughout the narrative, Kate seems to continually lag behind the other students, harassed by the impatient instructor - Toshi Sugiura. Sushi kitchen skills focus on knives, with each student possessing a kit of them. Sharpening is essential, as Kate learns the hard way. Her solution to her fear of knife sharpening is unique. She's also startled to learn that the image of sushi as "everything fresh" is false. Mold and infectious bacteria are essential to good sushi.
As the class struggles to keep up, Corson is able to introduce a wide range of supportive material relevant to what they learn. Sushi's history is complex and intricate, starting as quick meals from city street vendors. The move of Japan's capital from Kyoto to Edo [Tokyo], was but one of many divisions sushi would go through in Japan. There are also regional varieties, as well as those of customer class.Read more ›
The writer has a fluent writing style, and there is a lot of background research that he and a team of three helpers have put in, which gives the book plenty of depth with regards to the more technical aspects of sushi and its role in Japan. As someone who has eaten quite a lot of sushi in Japan I certainly found plenty to learn from the book. It is remarkable just how much is involved in such a seemingly simple subject of some vinegared rice and (mostly) raw fish.
It is well written, well researched and exciting.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It is, like sushi, beautifully presented. The various threads of the book each make an interesting story, and you'll learn something from each of them. I don't want to reduce the book to a tag line, but Corson's thoughtful tone will make you more thoughtful in preparing or eating fish -- a zen approach, if you like. Certainly you'll be a more thoughtful consumer of sushi, but there's also information that might make you a better fish cook, and more knowledgeable in considering the economy and ecological impact of fishing.
There's a cultural lesson to be learned in the way sushi has been Americanized on its way from Tokyo. Eating sushi in the United States can be helped by knowing more about Japanese practice, but it's a separate thing, not a copy. The sushi school in California makes that clear, with frantic weeks of training instead of the years of apprenticeship required in Japan. Being fluent in Japanese, Corson is in an excellent position to provide a balanced view of this, and the clarity of his writing helps you develop your own point of view.
I liked this book a lot. There's so much in the book that while I was reading it I felt as though I should be taking notes, but I didn't want to put it down. It's definitely a book worth coming back to.
On the other hand, if the words "Edo mae," "Otoro" or "Omakase" have any meaning to you, if the yellow insides of a sea urchin start your mouth drooling instead of gagging, you are probably best off staying away.
Trevor Corson's "The Story of Sushi" is not a pure history book, but instead flip-flops between sushi history in Japan and its development in the US and between telling the story of a class of students enrolled at the California Sushi Academy. The California Sushi Academy offers a 12-week course that circumvents the traditional multi-year apprenticeship system of Japan and delivers sushi-bar ready sushi chefs who are able to meet the current high demand at US restaurants.
From amongst the students Corson chose to follow Kate as his main character. A young woman of around twenty, Kate lacks confidence, has an unspecified eating disorder, is shy and inward, is terrified of her own sushi knives, has no cooking skills and is disgusted at the idea of touching a raw fish, much less cutting one. Directionless and unsure of herself, Kate borrowed money from her parents to attend the sushi school on somewhat of a whim, hoping for a career where she could socialize with customers as her main concern.
Kate is where the book starts, with chapter one, page one, and Kate is where the book fell apart for me. Obviously, Corson saw in Kate someone he hoped his audience could identify with, someone for whom sushi was still slightly "yucky" and who would be grossed out by the concept of eating octopus and squid. I was personally just annoyed by her, and found myself hoping she would drop-out instead of persevere. Her constant whining and self-doubt got to be too much, and she is the kind of character you wish your could somehow reach into the book and give a good smack on the face too.
It's too bad, because the other students who are relegated to the side-lines seemed so much more interesting than Kate. But we don't get to here their stories; like Takumi, the hard-working Japanese student who is secretly a pop star in Japan but escaped to the US where his anonymity allowed him to study his true love, cooking. Or even the Japanese-American girl who dropped out halfway through the course. Why? We'll never know.
As far as the parts of the book that actually focus on sushi history, they are interesting but nothing new. A bit of time browsing wikipedia would bring you the same information, such as the invention of the California Roll by Ichiro Mashita at the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant in LA in the 1960s when he found himself out of fatty tuna and decided to slip in avocado as a quick substitute, or the ins and outs of the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo where the bounty of the seas is flash-frozen and auctioned to the highest bidder.
Perhaps the lack of any real new historical information or ground to cover is what gave Corson the idea of giving over half of the book to Kate and the California Sushi Academy. If you are a real sushi novice, then perhaps much of this will be new to you and the behind-the-scenes look at the sushi school will be valuable/entertaining. Personally I just didn't find a lot here.
On one last note: When I bought this book, it was called "The Zen of Sushi" and I see that the name has since been changed to "The Story of Sushi" which makes me happy. For someone who has "resided in Buddhist temples in Tokyo" (as it says in his author's bio) Corson should know better than to mis-use the term "Zen" in that way.
It was fascinating to hear about how westerners like their sushi, and how Japanese connoisseurs prefer theirs. It has made me think twice about my own palate and what my taste buds run to.
I myself could never go through what these students went through because I am notorious for chopping off hunks of my own flesh when handling sharp knives. It's a wonderful book, I read it in one sitting , you wont be able to put it down!
While I was reading the book, I couldn't help feeling annoyed by the passages about Kate, the student going through the school. She's inept, clumsy, ditzy, and just not that interesting. I was more interested in the actual tidbits of information about sushi than Kate's classes.
I would have rated this book higher if it only contained the informational passages about the Japanese cuisine. Those parts were interesting and worth reading for anyone who likes sushi, but the other parts felt like a waste of time. Corson might have been trying to get readers to relate to Kate, but he would have been more successful if he had chosen a stronger student from the class to follow.
Visit the author's website if this book leaves you wanting more. The site includes articles on etiquette and technique, full-color pictures, and a behind-the-scenes look at the chefs featured in his book.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Food & Drink > Fish & Seafood
- Books > Food & Drink > National & International Cookery > Other Asian
- Books > Food & Drink > Reference & Gastronomy > Gastronomy
- Books > Science & Nature > Biological Sciences > Animal Sciences > Marine Life
- Books > Science & Nature > Biological Sciences > Hydrobiology