Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sushi ...!

Sushi and Zen 
Sushi is a food that nourishes the body, enriches the
brain, and is a delight for the eye. Sushi is a healthy food,
in which the quality of the raw ingredients, the taste,
the chemical composition, the physical texture, and the
aesthetic presentation are inseparable entities. 

Sushi is a food where the pleasure taken in its preparation and the
artistry of the presentation are just as important to the whole experience as the meal itself. Sushi encompasses passion, science,and wellness. Sushi is Zen. 
There is a common saying in Japan that every meal should incorpo-
rate “something from the sea and something from the mountains”.
The ocean supplies fish, shellfish, and seaweed, while rice, beans,
and other plants come from the mountains. 

Science is the tool used to satisfy the curiosity of a person who
wants to look beyond the physical manifestations of objects and
phenomena and, one glance at a time, to recognize and understand
inter-relationships which those who are uninterested or uninformed
will never comprehend. Science poses questions and the mere
process of formulating those leads to a measure of insight even if
they remain unanswered. Good, in-depth answers elicit new questions,
which in turn lead to further insight and recognition that
can intensify the haiku moment. Questions may relate to colours,
shapes, and patterns and their transformation in time and space.
Why is the flesh of salmon and tuna reddish, while that of flatfish
is white? What happens when rice is cooked and fermented? Why
are some teas bitter and feel harsh on the tongue while others have
a smooth, well-rounded taste? How can one preserve vegetables
and fruits so that they retain their flavour?

Here we are concerned with chemistry and the chemical reactions
that take place between ingredients, with the physical properties
of raw ingredients and tools, and with the biology of those living
organisms which we use for food. One can easily prepare sushi 
nd enjoy the haiku moment without knowing the answer to these
sorts of question, to say nothing of not even posing them in the
first place. But I maintain that asking such questions will serve to
sharpen the senses of intellectually curious individuals and that
gaining knowledge of the science underlying the ingredients and
the techniques employed in their preparation can greatly enhance
the overall sushi experience. 

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