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Aya Imatani

From the Introduction of Sushi For Beginners:

Aya ImataniWhen I first visited New York, I felt like I was walking into "Sushi City." Uptown. Downtown. There was sushi all over town—in restaurants, bards, groceries, fancy gourmet shops, corner delis, and even tiny take-out joints. There they were—those little black-bottomed plastic trays with the same clear covers filled with an assortment of sushi—some looking fresh and enticing, and some looking downright dry and unfriendly. Ick!

"Do people also make their own sushi?" I asked my friend Oscar, and he just laughed. "No way," he said. "Sushi is In, gorgeous, delicious, but you have to be a sushi master to make it! I don't know anyone who would dare make sushi at home—except you, Aya!"

So, okay, I have always made sushi at home. And it surprises me that people think it's so complicated. True, there are sushi masters out there who study the art of sushi for decades. But you don't have to be Julia Child to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, right? So why can't regular people make sushi?

Sushi really can be as simple as PB & J. Even for people afraid of raw fish, there are many varieties of sushi that incorporate only vegetables or even cooked ingredients. In this book, you'll learn all the basics for all these varieties, step-by-step, just as if I'm standing there alongside of you.

And who am I? Not just someone who learned to make sushi at home and is now writing a book about it—anybody could do that! Sushi has been a part of my life since infancy. My father owned a sushi bar in Kobe, Japan, and while other children were playing with blocks, I filleted my first fish at the age of five! Owning a sushi bar was a demanding business, and when my brother and I were little, our parents were often busy. But every night, after closing time, the two of us sat down at the bar just like grownups and Otosan (Father) made us whatever kind of sushi we asked for. Now that I've grown up and work in the restaurant business, I can really appreciate that special attention. For us, it made the hours of waiting worthwhile, and created a love and respect for sushi I still feel to this day.

Books by Aya Imatani