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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Real Men Don't Eat Ssushi

Some people I have known think it a great treat or sophisticated delicacy to eat sushi. I on the other hand have no such inclination and scoff.  It is not that I have anything against anyone who does eat sushi, it is just that I have had real sushi and do not think eating the artificial stuff would be much better and down right pretentious. Artificial, pretentious, you might ask? Well let me explain.

When sitting on the porch of my momasita's stilted grass hut in Panama she prepared octopus that had been caught just a few minutes earlier out of the lagoon rippling up to the edge of her grass plywood hut on stilts. She cleaned and chopped the tentacles up using the hand railing of the porch as her cutting block. She then chopped up an onion, mixed both in a wooden bowl and then put Wishbone Italian Dressing with a little salt and pepper added. I ate it of course not wanting to be impolite. The twenty-five cent beer probably helped the digestion also. The cephalopod had the consistency of rubber bands but the dressing and onions were good. Now flash forward fifteen years to a Thanksgiving event in Noatak, Alaska.

It was a village tradition that all the families gather in the school gym on Thanksgiving and eat a traditional meal. However the Inupaq traditional holiday meal for Thanksgiving was not Turkey or even goose, it was raw fish.

The villagers arrived early and staked out their tables. Some brought salt and pepper, others brought hot sauce, all brought their appetite. No sooner had everyone been seated and grace said then some adult Eskimo men started bringing in boxes of frozen fish recently or in some cases not so recently caught in the Noatak River. They dumped the fish on the gym floor and a member of every family picked through the fish deciding which ones they wanted. The people had their own way of eating the fish. Some gnawed, some chomped, some cut, some tore, all used their hands and teeth.

I was asked to join one family and did so. I picked around the fish as best I could with out really committing to eating it for as long as I could, even licked the hot sauce off the scales for a bit, but then I took the plunge and bit in to it with gusto.

So you see, when people order sushi at a sushi or Oriental restaurant, I scoff at their peasantry and do not lower myself to the mundane.

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