On Thursday between doctors appointments Dan and I stopped in to our favorite sushi place here in Cary, Wasabi. Wasabi is a Thai/Japanese restaurant with beautiful bamboo accents dim lights and unobtrusive music. It looks, feels and smells authentic. My cousin introduced Dan and me to Wasabi and in our own version of paying it forward we love to bring new friends there to celebrate what occasion calls for a sushi dinner, and really what occasion doesn't?
But today we weren't celebrating, just pausing for some comfort food. I settled in to my old favorite Chirashi- the chef's selection of fresh fish over rice. The fish was wonderful. Cool and flavorful, beautifully arranged but as I was eating I realized that I viewed the fish as almost the opening act to the dish. The real reason I order the Chirashi almost every time we go is for the rice.
See while I'm nibbling away on salmon all the flavors of the white tuna, lemon, whitefish, and the sauce that goes with the eel has been soaking into the rice. By the time I'm done with the fish that rice is a smokey, spicy, sweet, roe-covered desert. It's nothing that could be prepared in a kitchen, there is no recipe for it. Chirashi rice is unrepeatable, as every time I order it the chef uses different fish, but every time it gives me that same amazing feeling. It's like knowing the secret to the dish. Any maybe that more than anything is the appeal.
The other day I was at dim sum with a group a friends and the topic of strange food preferences came up. No one was able to think of any or at least, no one wanted to volunteer any of theirs. Maybe it's because we all eat lovely normal things, or maybe it's because what are strange eating habits to others are our very own own secret dishes. These recipes we have discovered through snacking trial and error, or family traditions handed down are personal private things.
Being the only one who eats them makes them all the more special.
There are plenty of recipes to share with friends, to prepare as a group and cherish together. But I'm going to try real hard to remember to cherish the foods I eat alone, they are just as worthy of thought and recognition. And in the end spending a little more time thinking about what I eat when I'm alone probably isn't a bad thing.