Sunday, July 15, 2007


The emperor of Japan. Digital ID: 1150432. New York Public Library

The Times yesterday had a number of op-ed articles on sushi. One article, written by Steven A. Shaw, tries to understand why doctors in the United States tell women to avoid eating raw fish while pregnant. I know of no pregnant women who have been given the okay to eat sushi while pregnant, but Shaw feels that since 85% of seafood-related illness comes from mollusks (raw oysters and raw clams), there is very little chance of contracting any illness from the usual fish served at a sushi bar. Also since the FDA requires any fish served as sushi or sashimi to be flash frozen, the freezing would eliminate parasites as sure as cooking would.

Celebrating sushi is also the theme of the other article, written by Trevor Corson. Corson encourages Americans to eat sushi as the Japanese do (sitting at the sushi bar, asking what is fresh, eating with fingers, avoiding heavy soy sauce) instead of the "typical" American experience: fearful of sushi chefs, and amorous of tuna. Corson argues that tuna has never been a staple ingredient of Japanese-style sushi, and in fact, the Japanese have long thought of tuna as unfit for sushi.

My favorite sushi place in New York?: Taro Sushi on Dean Street in Brooklyn. Go on a Tuesday or Thursday, when rumor has it they get their fish delivered, and sit at the bar. The fish is succulent and delicious, and the rice is the perfect temperature. If you're already at the Library and have a taste for Japanese food, there are some wonderful takeout eateries right across the street on 41st between 5th and Madison: Cafe Zaiya, Chiyoda Sushi and Yagura.

The Library has some good books on sushi in both English and Japanese, and many books on fish cookery in general.