When my children were little, I read a great piece of advice. The advice was to find an activity that you and your child both enjoy. Spend time together sharing this interest with your child when they are young. Very purposefully build a base and tradition. Then as your child becomes a teenager, you will both have a shared hobby. So, even when your teen is in that non-communicative stage, they will tend to still spend the time with you in your now long-standing shared activity. I do believe that communication is vital, but sometimes, especially with teenagers I think it’s important just to breathe the same air.
In this vein, for Christmas I bought my husband and stepson a shared gift. I bought them a sushi-making lesson at a culinary school called Kitchen on Fire in Berkeley. They both love to cook, and they both love to eat sushi. I thought this would be a perfect gift for them. And most importantly, it would be time spent together. Lots of time actually. The class was three hours long, and the drive to the school is 90 minutes each way. This would provide lots of time for dad and teenage son to spend together. They loved it!
The class was all about learning how to prepare sushi, but it was so much more! They enjoyed learning about the history of sushi, the culture of Japan, and they gained a whole new understanding of this delicacy. The Japanese culture has a true love affair with fish and their flavors. It all starts with the fisherman. The Japanese are very particular in how they catch their fish. There is a goal of preserving the fish to be as fresh as possible.
The sushi master described for them the sushi restaurants in Japan. Locals are very well known at their neighborhood sushi establishments, and the chef will give their customers a call when their favorite sushi is available.
They learned the etiquette of sushi, this was new to them. In the past they would eat sushi in a gulp-it-down manner – loving the taste. At their class they found themselves to be savoring the nuances of the favors. Taking it slow and really experiencing the flavors upon their pallets.
Gavin and Dominck learned the art of making sushi takes years of practice. It can take up to two years to just perfect cooking the rice. They watched as the master sushi chef put together a roll in 17 seconds. Then trying to follow suit, Dad and Son took about five minutes to make their rolls. Every step is important. Even working with the rice is an art form. Just getting the right amount of water on their hands was a skill to be learned. And then they needed to work in a way that allowed for touching the fish as little as possible. In a nutshell they learned the rice needs to be moist, seaweed needs to be dry, and when rolling sushi – you need to tuck and roll.
The two loved the evening! Dominck especially loved that they got to eat the sushi! They both tried and really like salmon eggs. This was a new delicacy for them. Below is one of the recipes they brought home.
Miso Soup with Tofu
The main ingredient in Japan’s most popular soup is miso which is a mixture of soybeans, malted rice and salt. Miso varies from light to dark and sweet to salty. Any type of miso (except sweet) can be used for this soup.