As a firm rice fan I remain perplexed, puzzled and ponderous on the subject of Sushi.
I can tell you now, cous cous isn't my bag of chips. Rice, as far as I'm concerned, is the best thing since sliced kiribath, not that I'm a huge fan of kiribath, but Sushi just flummoxes me.
It's all the rage over here. Walk into Tesco, M and S or any of the regular places where one can purchase a lunchtime sandwich and you'll also be confronted by a range of Sushi for a couple of quid, that's two of your sterling pounds to you foreign johnnies. It's packaged in a lovely little box and comes with a fish shaped miniature splash of soya sauce, some wasabi and often a couple of disposable chopsticks.
There are lovely colours seducing and tempting the customer. There's the pretty pink of the prawns, the bright orange of the salmon, the green of the cucumber, the black of that skin stuff and the gleaming whiteness of the sticky rice.
And every time I fall foul of this temptation I eat the Sushi and feel as though I'm fighting a losing battle. It reminds me of when I used to smoke and I'd partake of a cigar every now and then. I just never understood the attraction. Every single time I'd smoke a cigar I'd slightly enjoy the taste, the aroma and the sensation, then feel like a cigarette straight afterwards.
Eating Sushi makes me feel like I need a damn good rice and curry, full English breakfast or even a McDonalds, straight afterwards.
The chopsticks are a major factor. I always use them and wonder who on Earth thought they'd be a good implement to use for the eating of rice. One can use a fork, a spoon or ideally the fingers for the task but two wooden sticks with a slightly pointy end, to pick up grains of rice, is the sort of thing these fellows use in impossible games at the fairground in order to grab all our money. No wonder they have to make the rice sticky and lumpy. It's food design gone wrong.
The vinegary and mushy texture of the good grain is sacrilege. A paella or risotto is as far as I can go in terms of cooking and serving rice in ways that God didn't intend. Rice should be served fluffy and light, not weighed down by sogginess and a total lack of flavour. Of course these Japs supply soya sauce and wasabi with the food, otherwise there'd be no taste whatsover, just that faint hint of fish going on somewhere in the deepest recesses of the palate. We don't do subtleties of flavour that well, us Sri Lankans, do we?
I carry on with my attempts to like it though. A, my fifteen year old, absolutely loves Sushi and regularly takes it into school for her lunch. Trendy people go to Sushi bars and eat, using their chopsticks as if they're easy and intuitive like something designed by Apple.
On Sunday morning I ate chicken Sushi for breakfast. I say "ate" but it would be more accurate to say that I fought bravely through it like one of those jungle chaps with undergrowth, a long crescent shaped knife and some natives who'll get killed later on in the film.
I satisfied my hunger only in the way that becoming proficient and getting high scores on Rockband or Guitar Hero equips a person to deal with a lead singer who thinks a crotchet is something to do with knitting and a quaver is a slightly weird religious sect. I was left feeling quite full but wondering how the hell it had happened, as nothing with any flavour had crossed the threshold of my tastebuds.
The questions lingers in my mind. Do I persevere with the Sushi or give it up as a lost cause? I imagine JapSach virtually lives on the stuff, he probably goes back to Sri Lanka and makes his rice and curry into little rolls with a bit of bean or maldive fish inside just to deal with the withdrawal pangs.
As for you? I bet you love the stuff.
Or do you?