Number 1 on my list of 30 awkward and uncomfortable things to do before turning 30 has been triumphantly crossed off.
Saturday night, I tasted, chewed and swallowed sushi. And it turned out not to be as disgusting as I had anticipated since childhood when I learned that people in the world actually consume raw fish.
My husband — who loves and regularly craves sushi — and I have actually had a sushi-sampling date set several times in the last few months, but I’ve always managed to weasel my way out of it by over-scheduling the appointed date or neglecting to hire a babysitter.
A couple weeks ago, he insisted I choose a date, so I threw out a date that seemed far enough away — September 15. When September 14 arrived, he grinned at me and said, “Do you remember what tomorrow is?” Of course I didn’t. I regularly block things that fill me with dread from my mind.
When he excitedly reminded me of our sushi date — and that we had a babysitter lined up already — I threw my hands in the air and surrendered. He got online to show me the menu of his favorite sushi place, and gleefully pointed out the most mild roll on the menu, telling me that out of all of the rolls, this would be the one I could handle.
I began to read the ingredients, but felt queasy after reading about eel sauce, raw tuna and shrimp. I can’t even think about any sort of seafood without gagging — this was absolutely torturous. I stopped reading, and put the disturbing thought of my impending doom out of my head for the next few hours.
After a nice evening out as far away from the sushi restaurant as I could get, we phoned in an order of the sushi to-go so as to not disturb the other restaurant patrons by my certain spitting and throwing up.
When we arrived home, I tried to spend a great deal of time putting the children to bed, hoping my husband would get tired of waiting and eat all the sushi, including my required bite. No such luck — he hurried the bedtime process along, and downstairs we went to face the alienistic food nestled in a tray on our kitchen table.
I was surprised at how normal the sushi actually looked — the raw fish sitting atop the roll of rice and unmentionables could have passed as a garnish of bacon, and I wondered why they didn’t just put bacon on it instead.
Ryan picked up a piece, expertly showing off his chop stick skills, and demonstrated how to properly eat sushi — much like most things are properly eaten: inserting, chewing, swallowing. I was quite certain I could not complete that three-step process without death, but I moved forward with a glass of milk by my side to chase the ickiness away.
I ripped my raw tuna in half so I wouldn’t have to chew it, placed it back on the roll and threw the bite in my mouth. Fully expecting to be sick, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the flavor. I didn’t end up gagging, spitting it out, or dying — much to my relief. I didn’t really even need to use my chaser of milk.
There was no second bite for me, of course. It is raw fish, after all. But I was pleased to find that it had a good flavor — kind of like Top Ramen, actually. So from now on, I’ll just stick with Top Ramen.
P.S. I also crossed off #16: Eat Seafood this summer. Sort of. It was a tilapia burger, and apparently tilapia is a freshwater fish. But for this non-fish-eating girl, it counts. I made the rules of my list, after all. Here is the recipe. It’s actually something I would make again. Click the link. The pictures will make your mouth water.