Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sushi with an Alpha Reader (And Why It's Important)

Okay, so she's more than an alpha reader. She also has some really strong beta reader tendencies. :) And she's an old friend.

Have you ever made sushi before? It's FUN. And there are HIGH STAKES. :) Not only that, but there is some major prep work that goes into it. Just like making a good novel. I'd never had sushi before, and so my dear alpha reader, Jodie, and her family invited me to make sushi with them. It was awesome.

The first thing we did was slice vegetables and fruit into long strips to put into the rolls. WITH KNIVES. And Jodie picked out some great vegetables: asparagus, cucumber, mango, kiwi, etc. She also got shrimp and crab, which we forgot to remember until right before it was time to roll it up. Oops.

Jodie's mom said of the sweet and sour sauce 'If you burn it, it's ruined, okay? No pressure.' And then she put me in charge of it. :D (I love Jodie's mom, BTW.) This is the HIGH STAKES part. 

And just so you know, I did it perfectly.

If there is a flavor that tastes like excitement, it is the A-MAZING firecracker sauce we made. Here's the recipe. You pretty much just stir it up together and go. It's very spicy and it makes me salivate just thinking about it. 

We also made some fried rice. Jodie's sister, Sassy, added about a pound of butter to it. IT WAS AWESOME. Don't skimp on the butter when you make fried rice.

(It looks super dark, but in reality, I'm just a crappy photographer.) This is Sassy, showing us all how to roll sushi. That's rice paper. And you eat it. That reminds me of some candy paper from Germany that I tried once - what's with eating paper in countries outside the U.S.? But the rice paper was good and it held everything together.

The lovely and talented Jodie, who basically headed the whole operation. 

The finished product! If you think about it, it looks like what a fish looks like when you slice it in half. You know... skin on the outside, white flesh in the middle... Don't think about it, and you'll be fine. I liked the uncooked crab better than some cooked crab I've had. Seriously.

Here's my roll. Sassy rolled mine. She's so nice. She knew it would probably end badly if I rolled my own.

We made a huge mess, and it took a while, but it was totally worth it. My verdict? It was good. I liked it. I would eat it again. Today. Or tomorrow. Or pretty much whenever.

It makes me want to write scenes with characters cooking things. Think of all the fun sensory details there are in cooking projects -

smells (lemon, vinegar, wasabi)

textures and temperatures (flaky crab, cool soft mango, sticky rice)

sounds (the faint murmur of a pot on the stove, knives on a chopping board, conversation and laughter)

Not to mention all the TASTING and the look of the food and Jodie's sister Corky sneaking celery off the chopped veggie's plate and Jodie's younger brother playing the guitar in the dining room and Bandit the Short and Anxious Dog sniffing around, hoping little doggie hopes that somebody, somewhere, will drop something tasty.

Writers. Go cook something weird and cool, like sushi. And then write a scene where your characters are cooking. You'll get to meet them in a whole new way. And I think you'll like it.


  1. Hello fellow cooking friend! Thanks for the awesome blog!! You make our family sound super cool and fun!! Thanks so much for joining us for our evening of fun!!

    The Mom of the Super Cool Sushi Family

    1. Aw, shucks. :) It wasn't hard to make yall sound super cool.