Whatever faults there are in the writing, the telling does not compound them. Brian Nishii has as few narration credits as Corson has author credits, but you'd never know it. He handles the many facets of this book with energy and agility. One strand running through the book is a straightforward factual account of the history of sushi, both as traditional Japanese cuisine and as modern American trend. A second strand is the more scientific description of the different varieties of seafood and their assorted properties. The third strand attempts to humanize the difficulty of the art of making sushi by following a class of beginners through sushi school.
Tokyo-born Nishii nails all the pronunciation with ease and fluidity. Fans of sushi will be relieved and possibly embarrassed to learn the proper way to order and eat their food. The helpful tips abound, from the fat content of each fish to what you are really eating when you eat wasabi to the importance of the radish garnishing your plate. There is also a heaping dose of amusing facts. For example, the phrase "mac daddy" actually comes from the idea that the skin of the mackerel is very shiny, and salmon is actually a white fish that turns pink for the same reason flamingos do.
Nishii also deftly handles the Japanese-Australian accent of a pop star turned sushi school chef, a strange and delightful sound to the American ear, delivering a relatively satisfying gem of a portrait amidst Corson's cast of flat characters — the timid depressive who can't do anything right, the 17-year-old kid taking this class to impress girls, the beautiful stoic from Finland who executes each roll to perfection, the hard-working sous chef destined to find a job right after graduation, et cetera. The more informative two-thirds of the book certainly make up for Corson's missteps in the sushi school thread, and Nishii's voice work will reassure you that next time you sit down at the sushi bar, you'll be at the head of the class. —Megan Volpert
The Story of Sushi is at once a compelling tale of human determination and a delectable smorgasbord of surprising food science, intrepid reporting, and provocative cultural history.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David on 18-10-10
I want to see Top Chef: Sushi on the Food Network
This is an entertaining and educational book -- I could have done without all the travails of Kate, the "main character," and the other aspiring sushi chefs, but Corson included a class of students at a California sushi chef school in his narrative, telling us about sushi preparation and the sushi business through them. To me, more interesting was the history of sushi (which, naturally, was originally something very different than what you buy at the supermarket today and which you'd probably consider disgusting), as well as lots of chemistry for food science geeks (you learn all about exactly what chemicals make seafood so delicious, as well as all the ways it can go bad). Learn which fish sushi chefs consider to be true delicacies, and which are the crappy fish Japanese used to consider unworthy of sushi, but which Americans love.
Definitely made me want to go out and eat some sushi.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Amazon Customer on 15-10-10
Sushi is Interesting
I found this book highly entertaining. It covered a large range of topics related to sushi, from the evolution of fish to how sushi bar became popular in 1960s California. The story that creates the structure of the book, following students at a sushi academy, is useful when it is used to be informative - when the students run into problems, and these problems are used to explained things further. The educational passages are the best bits. Whenever the story tries to hit an emotional note, it fails. However, this is not much of the book. I am very glad I listened to this book.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful