Is Sushi a Moveable Feast? A Weak Imitation of Master Hemingway
In honour of Hemingway Week at ye old PBIHT..
[Originally published here on March 19, 2010]
There was a warm, friendly atmosphere in the sushi shop. I sat at the bar of the restaurant, sipped the green tea and pulled my new hard-covered book from my bag. I ordered my usual for a Japanese restaurant so far from Japan, where unless you have the money to blow, you won't get fish good enough for straight sushi. I ordered the rolls that have the shrimp tempura and green vegetables inside and that are topped, each one, with a big generous slab of salmon, an orange not quite the lovely bright you find in Kansai, but still with those white V-shaped stripes that go down the length of the fish. The salmon slithered smooth and sweet down the throat when you ate it. The crunch of the tempura and wedge of cucumber balanced the softness of the fish and the ripe avocado, and then to wash it down with the cold of the Japanese beer I had ordered to go with it. The fresh crispness of the lager complimenting the sweetness of the fish.
It was good to be alone in the restaurant like that, sitting, the only one, at the counter, but comfortable there, absorbed as I was in the flavours, and the slow chopstick way I'd learned from a friend to eat sushi, putting wooden utensils down after eating each piece, making the meal last, allowing the belly to fill. And all the while reading sensous pages far better written than this and so strongly styled, so uniquely written. I felt inspired to rush home (I didn't rush - that's a lie; the weather too spring gorgeous to rush, the night too clear, a sliver of moon high in the clean air) and write about my experience in the style of the book I was reading. Or at least, a lazy approximation of that style, of Hemingway's style, in particular from his great collection of memoirs called, "A Moveable Feast." Cause what I'm really trying to do is recommend this remarkable literary remembrance to you.