Sushi’s a knockout

Sushi Dinner

My boyfriend John is excellent at presents. The first Christmas we were together, he gave me Ella Fitzgerald’s complete Songbooks CD set, and in order to get it on time, he had to make a special deal with the UPS man and meet him in someone else’s yard on the other side of town. It was crazy. That same year, I probably gave him slippers.

My awesome sushi bookRecently, for my birthday, he gave me a beautiful book on sushi technique, a bamboo mat and paddle-thingy, and a very, very, very sharp knife. He knew how badly I’d wanted to learn about sushi, but I had been afraid it would be too hard. For months before my birthday, he encouraged my discouragement so that I wouldn’t suddenly get up the nerve to try it. Because he is also excellent at being very sneaky.

And since he had already given me an amazing sushi serving set (complete with little teacups and a sake carafe) a few years before, I suddenly had everything I needed and no excuses. I made the rice according to the directions in my new book, sliced all the ingredients with the sharpest knife I’ve ever been permitted to touch, and prepared myself emotionally for failure.

I knew enough to expect a lot of missing skills in wrestling the sushi ingredients into a pretty roll, and a lot of I-don’t-have-enough-hands moments, and I didn’t know how many times I’d mess it up before getting the hang of it. A lot of times, I figured. Probably a whole lot of times. And I had to be ready so I wouldn’t decide to throw in the towel now that I had such a lovely collection of accoutrements.

But here’s the thing.

It was kind of no big deal.

The book gives clear, specific instructions, and has tons of step-by-step pictures. The rice is very sticky. It holds everything together so you don’t have to. The bamboo mat makes it almost impossible to roll any way but the right way. And the nori can’t help but seal itself up at the bottom. There’s no wrestling. That stuff wants to be sushi already. When I first loaded my mat and rolled it up and was rewarded with a proper, successful inside-out roll, I hardly knew what to do with myself. I had prepared for so much frustration and disappointment, and now this! I tried to get disappointed about the lack of disappointment, but I was way too excited about my dumb little cucumber roll.

So I guess anybody can make sushi. Who knew? The toughest part is figuring out exactly how much filling needs to go into each roll, but it’s forgiving, so even that’s no big deal. Turns out sushi is actually a really laid back thing to make and doesn’t require much skill at all.

After I’d made a cucumber roll, a smoked salmon cream cheese roll, and a California roll, I got bold and started to experiment with whatever else we had in the fridge—asparagus, green beans, broccoli, hot sauce. My favorite invention consisted of chopped raw broccoli florets, raw green beans, spicy mayonnaise, and panko. Yum. Crunchy.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that sushi is easy and you should try it. So no recipe today. Just put delicious things that you like to eat on top of rice and nori and roll it up and eat it. There, there’s your recipe. Now get out of here—don’t you have some rice that needs steaming?

NOTE: This has been my second-round entry for Project Food Blog. If you have the inclination and about 30 seconds to kill (five seconds if you’re already registered), please click here to vote to keep me in the contest. Thank you!

Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.

  • Seems like it was a sushi kind of weekend! Great post!

  • Donna

    I got to watch as she made like seven different rolls right before my eyes! It was great to watch and even better to taste. Seriously yummy!!!!

  • Having a ball looking through your blog… you are witty and have a sense of humor I can relate too! I love anything that makes me laugh! love the blog… Megan

  • I love sushi… love eating it, love seeing OTHER people make it! Eventually, I will have to bite the bullet and get on board and make it.

    Regardless yours looks great and yummy.. love your sushi set.

  • Ant

    My flat mate likes to have sushi parties where everyone gets to roll their own. Really shows just how simple it is.

  • I THINK I might want to attempt Sushi sometime — Very cool. One vote here :)


  • Great entry and post! Definitely will be voting for this one!

  • Sushi seems very daunting, but you show how approachable it is!! Great post!

  • Great post! Looks delicious, and perfectly rolls. Nice job. I voted for you!

    Good luck! =)

    You can check out my PFB post at :

  • I love sushi, but I’ve never made it before. Glad to know it’s no sweat! Good luck this round :)

  • We love making sushi too—it’s so much fun to put out ingredients and rice and invite a bunch of people over! You never know what you’ll end up with. You got my vote!

  • I love sushi and you do a great job! Best of luck with round 2!

  • That’s such a cute story of how you two met! I’m going to vote for you. :) Good luck!

  • Hooray for overcoming the biggest obstacle most of us have when it comes to tackling the new and unfamiliar: paralyzing fear of failure! We’ve all been there; very impressed that you helped all those ingredients be what they wanted to be: sushi:)

    Excellent boyfriend; excellent post–you’ve got my vote!

  • Love seeing so many people tackling Japanese cuisine for PFB! Nice job!

  • Good luck for the competition and happy belated birthday! I love home-made sushi :-)

  • Looks good! Way to go with the sushi – that’s something I need to get up the nerve to try too. It’s the sticky rice!

  • Sushi is one of my favorite dishes. It’s so simple, yet so delicious. You literally take things you like, roll them up with some rice, nori, and BAM you have a delicious, healthy treat for you and your friends. One of the best things to do is to teach your friends how to make sushi, and have sushi making parties where you can try other people’s combos. Anyway, voted for you, good luck!

  • Hi Kristina :) Thanks so much for your vote!! I had voted for you too — I love sushi and impressed with those who made it. Good luck to you.


  • Glad to hear the sushi didn’t give you any trouble! Great job with challenge 2!

  • ooo, nice! I did sushi too, it was a lot of fun! Yours looks delicious!