Jiro and I Dream of Sushi (and Rice)

When I eat sushi, the main focus point, for me, is the fish—at least that’s what I thought.

Upon watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I realized that the fish is merely a complementary element. The wasabi and soy sauce are the obvious condiments, and rice is usually overlooked as the thing that holds it together.

Let’s think about this. You’ve had sushi with different types of fish and vegetables: tamago, toro, ebi, unagi, the list goes on. And usually, they all taste great.

But have you ever had sushi where you didn’t have rice as the grain? Sushi with quinoa or barley just doesn’t taste as great.

Jiro’s right. Sushi is primarily composed of two main ingredients: rice and fish. Each ingredient is just as important as the other and needs to “create a union. If they are not in complete harmony, the sushi won’t taste good.”

There are times when I attempt to create food where I want to take the easy way out or try to save a few dollars by using ingredients that are available to me instead of going out and buying them. Sometimes this works—usually it does not. I look at a recipe for a salad that tells me to use freekeh for protein. Because it’s not readily available, I opt for rice. BAD IDEA. Freekeh can absorb more water and has a unique texture unlike the stickiness of rice that does not complement the other ingredients. In this case, overlooked ingredients have just as much as the main ingredient (which in this case was lettuce, I guess).

Today, I realized that hidden between the crevices of my more vivid memories lie the memories I tend not to linger one but the ones that provide more meaning and insight than I previously thought. Jiro, in many ways, taught me that anything overlooked can prove to not be so.

Maybe that’s why he has his own rice dealer.

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