I realize that to a lot of people, going out to have sushi doesn’t require much thought. They get together with their friends and/or significant other and just head to dinner (or order in) much like I would think about going for Italian or steaks. But in fact, until this very weekend, I hadn’t so much as come within close proximity of a sushi restaurant.
Let me tell you, it’s taken years of hesitation and plenty of months of hyping myself up for this weekend’s lunch to have happened. Now, you’re probably reading this and thinking, why would she be writing about going out to eat? That’s just something all people do and doesn’t merit its own post unless the blog’s theme is food.
To an extent, I agree. But this blog is also about growing up and trying and doing new things. So my so-called journal would feel empty without this entry about how I finally overcame my unfounded fears and went out of the comfort zone.
So for a very long time, I convinced myself that my digestive system would not be able to handle any food that wasn’t thoroughly cooked, not knowing at the time how much delicacies I was missing out on. This was the excuse I would give whenever anyone suggested we go for sushi or similar food. Mind you, as many excuses are, there was no precedent for this nor any evidence.
Let’s just say that at the time, only the classics my mother would prepare at home and the standard fare of burgers and pizza would appeal to my teenage and early-adult self.
So what changed? Well, for one, I started cooking- and that opened my eyes to the whole process, from choosing the ingredients to plating. That’s another story for another day, but I have to say that I became more appreciative of the culinary world after realizing just how much went into it.
And the other reason? Well, Ahmad of course.
The further our relationship progressed, the less likely it seemed that we would just stick to what I’ve described as “standard fare.” My curiosity for trying new things grew because he’d always suggest different places to go- and what initially started as me trying to impress him slowly became one of the things I’d enjoy. We’d go to a restaurant and I would be the one scouring the menu looking for new combinations and flavors to try- and never once did I end up disappointed for taking those risks.
This brings us to the present day where ordering things like salmon tartar or carpaccio was not an unusual practice for me anymore. Sushi thus seemed like the most natural step, though I was still hesitant about some restaurants’ laxity with food quality and safety. Given what I do for a living, this is a very natural concern of mine.
Thankfully though, our friends made an excellent suggestion for one of our frequent lunches and I found myself going along for the ride.
And you know what? I loved it. To the extent that I don’t think having sushi is going to be a one time thing.
I don’t particularly know what I ate, apart for the tuna tartar and the shrimp tempura, but I can tell you that I was thrilled to be there. Maybe not knowing, relying on my lunchmate’s recommendations, helped me enjoy the meal instead of having to overthink that I was eating raw fish.
Using the “easy” chopsticks, I picked up the pieces from the board and carefully dipped them in the provided soy sauce, making sure to savor every bite. I even had the accompanying ginger and wasabi without flinching- that made it all the more enjoyable.
I finally understood why so many people like it as I could pick out the contrasting flavors as well as the finesse that goes into each and every roll.
After all, isn’t that what eating out is all about?