What is up with the way some people insist on viewing willingness to eat sushi as this shibboleth of sophistication? In my experience, admitting that you don’t enjoy sushi to inhabitants of a major metropolis is tantamount to declaring that you’ve just arrived from East Jesus Christ, Nebraska, you’re afraid to set foot outside your apartment after dusk, and you’re pulling for Jeb Bush in ’08. It doesn’t matter that I do like the taste of soy, ginger and wasabi—just not one particular vehicle for them–not to mention any number of other ethnic cuisines that have only recently gained popularity in North America. Indian? Thai? Vietnamese? Portuguese? Dominican? Korean? Moroccan? I’m there. Even Japanese, for god’s sake—just not fucking sushi.
It also doesn’t matter that I’m equally opposed to eggplant, raw tomatoes, olives, avocados, and a zillion other “normal” foods for the same basic reason I don’t like sushi: I’ve got texture issues. Serious texture issues. I can’t always pin down exactly which textures, in combination with which flavors, will set me off, but believe me when I tell you I know what I don’t like as soon as it hits my throat, and if you ever have to dine with me, you will be grateful that I’ve already spent thirty years sorting out what I can and can’t eat. Ask my Japanese-food-loving ex about the time I tried sashimi as a birthday present to him. Only, don’t ask if you yourself just ate. I have my reasons, is what I’m saying.
Nevertheless, I say, “I don’t like sushi,” and people hear, “Hi, I’m a provincial dipshit.” Actual conversation from Bex’s birthday party last year:
Friend of Bex 1: We went to the most amazing sushi restaurant for dinner! You have to try it!
Me: Actually, I don’t really like sushi.
Friend of Bex 2: Ohhh. More of a steak girl, are you?
Yes, that’s right. My failure to enjoy one kind of food automatically means I turn to The Keg for haute cuisine. Fact is, relative to sushi, hell yes, I’m a steak girl. I’m also a hundred other kinds of girl, and I’ve got the thighs to prove it. Furthermore, I love uncooked fish in the form of ceviche and gravlax, while at least half the sushi fans I know only go for barbecued salmon or, worse yet, friggin’ cucumber rolls. Ooh, you mean you’ll actually dare to eat… rice and soy sauce? How staggeringly cosmopolitan!
I. just. don’t. like. sushi. Jesus.