Saturday, June 9, 2007

Raw fish and the meaning of life

From The New York Times Book Review: Sushi Books by Trevor Corson and Sasha Issenberg
But the global sushi trade, as Issenberg portrays it, is a curiously old-fashioned market subject to the vagaries of nature and a complex network of personal relationships. “It is one of the last areas in which human beings remain hunter-gatherers.” Issenberg takes this argument pretty far. “Through sushi, we see that ... integrity does not need to come only from defending the tribal honor of terroir, but is to be uncovered in movement, as well. Conquering distance, geographical and cultural, can be a triumph of the liberal values of mobility and interdependence, empowering local communities instead of threatening them.”...

If the consumption of sushi is, as Issenberg proposes, a key indicator of modernization, a signifier of participation in the globalized economy, then it’s only a matter of time before China and India become major markets for bluefin tuna. “To eat sushi,” he writes, “is to display an access to advanced trade networks, of full engagement in world commerce.” The “Iron Chef” star Masaharu Morimoto is opening a place in Mumbai. When people start eating toro in Calcutta, Issenberg says, “India will make a successful claim to a Western ideal of modernity that no number of outsourced call centers can.”

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