japanese tuna salad rolls: a bound salad set free.

if you were to wander into one of the estimated 46,000 convenience stores in japan, you would eventually come upon a section of the refrigerated shelving designated for rice balls.  some of them contain extravagent ingredients, like spiced cod roe, chopped green onions, and fresh wasabi.  others are decidedly non-japanese in flavor, such as the surreptitiously bright yellow dry curry rice balls.

but no matter where you go, regardless of whether you are in a 7-11, familymart, circle k, daily yamazaki, or lawson, you will undoubtedly find a rice ball labeled “sea chicken.”

it contains, as you might guess, a 1:1 mixture of tuna and mayonnaise.  they are the cheapest for a reason. namely, because they are just awful.

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fish and taters: england got it all wrong.

frankly, i’m not a big fan of british cuisine.

as a quick disclaimer, i’m not making some sort of grand proclamation denouncing the deliciousness of all food served in the united kingdom.  britain has become a country rife with cuisine from all kinds of cultures, so much so that i have a few friends that joke about tandoori chicken being the national food of the uk.  i will gladly agree with any person asserting that britain has some really tasty food.

i don’t like british cuisine because, once you ask that person who asserted the deliciousness of british food to provide an example, the first thing they come up with is fish and chips.

not mince pie.  not bread pudding.  not kebabs or tandoori chicken.  fish and freaking chips.

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cooking just gets miso hot sometimes.

whoever decided to call this stuff “fermented bean paste” clearly had no concept of what sounds appetizing and what does not.  if i were asked on the street, “excuse me, would you like a bowl of fermented bean paste soup?”, you can bet your butt i would say no.  but “miso soup”?  i would be all over that like white on rice.

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a fish, a man, and a super sharp knife.

i like to tell my friends that, when it comes to cooking, there are three kinds of people in this world.

first, there are the people who have a million different knives, none of which are sharp or useful.  second, there are the people who use their knife until it is no longer sharp, and then throw it away and buy a new one.

last, there are people who have one knife that they keep so ridiculously sharp it is at risk of cutting through the food, the cutting board, and the counter beneath.

while this categorization is a little bit cut and dry (no pun intended), there is some truth to it.  i admit, i used to be the second type of person.  but i can confidently say that now, i am the third type through and through.  in my opinion, one knife is all you need as long as you care for it and know how to use it properly.

and when it comes to using a knife properly, japan takes the cake.  not only are their knives incredible, the people who wield them command incredible respect and admiration.  i have been to a few sushi restaurants that consist of nothing more than a counter and chairs, but left with the feeling that i had been to a five-star restaurant.  the flavor of sashimi, maybe more than any other food in the world, is determined entirely by freshness and the knife used to prepare it.

so i thought, why not make sashimi at home?  and then i thought, “i’m not a 85-year-old japanese man who can slice perfect sashimi in his sleepo, that’s why.”  and then i thought, “even those guys had to start somewhere.”

and then i went and bought some fish.  my knife did not disappoint.

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wizards, ben franklin, and raw food week.

it’s imagination time.

let’s say a guy with a beard and a sweet hat shows up on your doorstep and politely informs you that he is a wizard.  as skeptical as you are of his claims, you probably do something nice somewhere in the story (like give him an ice-cold glass of lemonade or massage his feet or something) and he tells you that in return he will magically place you into any socioeconomic class you like.  i think most people, including myself, would swallow their guilt and go with “filthy stinking rich.”  and poof, just like that, happily ever after.  foie gras, black truffles, the finest aged cheeses, filet mignon, and black caviar every day until you happily die of gout.

and now, back to the real world.

do you have a socioeconomic wizard on your doorstep?  yeah, i didn’t think so.  it’s okay, i don’t either.  and while disney’s alladin, the tale of king midas, and many other non-fictional stories verified by hard, factual evidence lead us to believe that magic is the fastest road to riches, some trail-blazing individuals believe saving money is a far more effective solution.  at least that is what benjamin franklin thought.  and he was kind of like a wizard, only in real life.

so in the spirit of super long esoteric introductions (and saving money), i have decided this week to abstain from using my stove.

while the cheapest option would be to not eat food at all, dying of malnutrition is not in the best interest of my blog.  so instead, i will do all my cooking this week without the use of heat.

no stove, no toaster oven, no hot water.  in other words, raw foods or no foods.  will i be severely limited in my ability to prepare delicious food?  you bet your bottom dollar i will.  will i be hard-pressed to find any way at all to eat meat?  you know it.  will i give up and have a steak in less than 24 hours?  there is a distinct possibility.  but you know what, challenges make us stronger.

raw food mode: engage.

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