Tuesday, October 23, 2001

My Father's Birthday

Today being my father's birthday, we invited my parents to a dinner party tocelebrate the event. By "dinner party", though, I mean, a modest gathering with the five of us and my parents, 7 total, partaking in a meal together. My twosons, who are attending college and living on their own, were there too, so it was the first time in a while that we were all together. Although dinner wasn't until 6 pm, I, being the chef, got home at about four, and my wife and I got started on the preparations. We shared the duties with me making the sushi and my wife making various side dishes. Since my father likes rolls, I made two each of two different types of rolls, and rounded things out with tuna, salmon, and yellow tail, arranged on a platter in an attractive color scheme.

Whenever we make sushi rolls at our house, we usually make something called "Asahi Maki." This goes back about 4-5 years ago, when I was in Otaru City, Hokkaido for a Seicho-No-Ie Grand Seminar, and refers to a roll that I tasted when I went to a sushi restaurant called "Asahiya," on Sushi Restaurant Row there. It was so delicious that I jotted down everything that went inside the roll, went home, made it and served it to my family. It was such a hit that it's become a family tradition of sorts. You wrap lots of the ingredients--which include tuna, squid, seaweed, cucumber, shiso and sweetened ginger--firmly into a roll, and you get something with an indescribable taste and texture. It probably has to do with the contrast in the different textures of the tender tuna and the crisp cucumber and ginger. The other type of roll I made has crab legs, avocado, cucumber and shiso -- a variation on the California Roll.

Our second son, who's a college freshman, and my daughter, who's in her second year of high school, came home around 5:30 and began helping to get things ready. Our older son, who's a junior in college and had had classes until the last minute, arrived several minutes after 6:00 pm. The two boys, who don't get much from us as a monthly allowance, work part time to supplement their incomes. As a result, they don't get to eat sushi very much, so really took advantage of the opportunity and enjoyed the meal. Anticipating something like this would happen, we cooked five cups of rice for the sushi for the seven of us, and the sushi, as well as the leftover fish, was all gone before we knew it. It was gratifying to see it disappear so quickly, and made the preparation all worthwhile.

After dinner, we gave Father his gifts. My wife and I gave him a compact flashcard for the new digital camera he bought and has started using recently. The grandchildren gave him a leather book cover to put on the paperbacks that he reads. Although they probably had no way of knowing that he's started reading the paperback version of "Before the Dawn" by Touson Shimazaki, I thought it was a very well thought out gift. Thinking perhaps that my mother had something todo with it, I looked over at her, but couldn't tell from her smiling face whether or not she had.

- MT

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