When you have sushi for the first time, it’s either going to be a near-religious experience that compels you to witness its greatness to all your friends and family, leaving menus as tracts to persuade them that yes, happiness and fulfillment can be found in a plate of sashimi, or it’s going to end up referred to as that time a fish shat in your mouth.
For my poor grandparents, it was most definitely the latter.
Yesterday evening, my uncle came by to visit, and during the course of the conversation shared with us his new love of this thing called a “Super Obe roll” down at “that new Japanese place where Weiner’s used to be.”
(Do you remember Weiner’s? Bet you’re older than 30 and from the deep, dirty south!)
Anyway, being a total sushi convert and a regular patron of local sushi bars back home, I jumped at the chance to share a meal with my uncle at his new favorite restaurant. I even talked my grandparents into coming, luring them with tales of smoked salmon and promising to only feed them cooked rolls.
When we arrived at the joint this evening, we chose several rolls, mostly made up of fried seafood and veggies, with maybe a little spice. My uncle made a huge to-do of rubbing his chopsticks together and making wasabi-soy sauce soup to dip his rolls in. (You’re shuddering right now, sushi-etiquette snob. I know, I know. I wasn’t going to say anything.)
Our orders were delivered and we passed around the plates, taking a bit here and there to sample. Monkey sat patiently and consumed massive handfuls of animal crackers.
This is a poorly shot photo of my grandmothers first sushi bite. She’d've rather had the animal crackers.
Then my grandfather got into the “wasabi.” This man has eaten whole jalapenos as a snack, grown habaneros, and pretty much scoffs at anything under 100,000 on the Scoville scale. He won’t admit it, but his eyes were watering after a few bites.
“It’s not as bad as some I’ve tasted,” he claimed.
My favorite part of the evening was when I ordered a slightly more traditional spicy tuna, made with nori instead of the soy paper my uncle is so fond of. I offered a piece to anyone at the table brave enough to venture away from crab sticks.
My uncle, not to be outdone by some girl, popped a piece in his mouth, then lamented how he was going to burp that up the rest of the evening.
Then my cousin got ahold of a piece of smoked salmon sashimi, and nearly died trying to force herself to swallow it.
As we were all laughing at the faces and photos, my uncle shared a story about food and how different people’s tastes can be.
He had a duck hunting buddy with a fondness for two things – cold Dr. Pepper and warm vienna sausages. On frigid mornings on the frozen water, keeping the Dr. Pepper cold was no problem, but warming the little cans of sausages presented a challenge.
Hunters are resourceful beings, at least, the good ones are, so my uncle’s buddy figured he could just stick the cans in his pants. His balls didn’t appreciate being forced to defrost a frozen tin can, and to make it even worse, when he pulled the toasty-warm can out of his waders, popped the top and drained the juice, he then offered my uncle a teensy phallic meat snack!
Needless to say, we were all finished eating at that point.
When we got back to the house, my grandfather inquired as to the whereabouts of my little wiener dog, Frank.
“Why, ” I asked. “Did you bring leftovers or something?”
“No,” he grimaced. “I want to kiss his butt and see if I can get this taste out of my mouth.”