Friday, August 30, 2013

Foodie Fridays: Sushi With the Family

This is a beautiful thing....
Our friend, Han, emigrated to the U.S. from Burma (formerly Myanmar) several years ago. His story is one of courage, intelligence, shrewdness, and endurance.  Along the way he learned the art of making sushi, and his creative talent in this area – born out of the need for survival – now provides a steady income for his family.   This is what amazes me about art: oftentimes fulfilling a basic need also provides an opportunity for creative expression.  Cooking, architecture, and interior design all illustrate this phenomenon.  Additionally, these three art forms also offer opportunities to share cultural characteristics with others.  When we share foods indigenous to a friend’s homeland, we learn about his country's customs, the geography relevant to his birthplace, and sometimes even the political climate of his native land (which, in Han’s case, is what brought him to the U.S. in the first place).   

Our affinity for sushi provided the backdrop for our friendship with Han, and over time we learned about the sequence of events that led him to the U.S. Han, in turn, appreciated our interest in all things sushi, and offered to throw our family an interactive sushi-making dinner party.  Of course we accepted his offer.

Han arrived at our house early one Saturday evening, carrying two ice coolers full of sushi-grade seafood, julienned veggies, and seaweed salad. Then he went back to his car and brought in even more coolers – one of which was dedicated solely to sticky rice.  After he set up his coolers filled with deliciousness, he went back out to his car to gather up about eight cutting boards, several serious knives, and an abundance of sushi mats and sauces.  Once he felt confident about his collection of ingredients and work accessories, he carefully arranged everything on our kitchen table and counters.

Then he turned us loose.

For about two hours the family created sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi that would elicit the admiration of even the most celebrated sushi chefs.  The evening culminated in a sushi “birthday cake” Han designed for our oldest son, who turned 16 a few days before the dinner party.  Food was consumed, stories shared, and pictures taken.  In fact, some of those pictures I’d like to share with you today.  And, if you live in the Joplin area and are interested in hiring Han for your own at-home sushi dinner party, let me know and I’ll set you up!

The gang hard at work

Han and Chance with the birthday sushi

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Now THAT'S a birthday cake....

I need some more of those, and those, and those

 So, what about you?  What are some of your favorite cuisines?  Do you like to cook?  Do you like sushi?  Would you like to host a dinner party?

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