Sushi and beyond by Michael Booth (Vintage)


“Ha! You so fat you not so see your dankon for years! You pants too small. You are so fat, sun go down when you bend over!”

A true story, a travelogue where Michael Booth takes his wife and two young children Asger and Emil to Japan not so much for a holiday but a full blown gastronomic investigation of all things edible. Instructional, informative, written with an engaging light touch which the children help with especially with the visit to the Sumo school but also some of his insights into Japanese mores are revealing.

Miso soup should be eaten at the end of the meal.  Sushi should be eaten with the fingers not chopsticks. Wasabi should be already mixed with the dipping sauce not served to the side.

And he manages to slip in some useful cooking instructions – nigiri sauce (for dipping for sushi) = 40 ml dashi, 20 ml mirin, 20 ml sake, 200ml soy, “briefly heated”.

It is a skilful blending of food, travel and culture that avoids the usual this-is-what-i-had-for-my-dinner cliches. And he has some wonderful subject matter. Most of all perhaps there is a Disney-like literary quality or dramatic frisson on the lines of what happened when we took the kids to Japan the fun fair that parents will respond, if not all aspire, to…

In fact Disney should make a film out of it…


About drewsmith28

Words, words, words...
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