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A Brief History of the Mighty Sushi Roll

Hello readers!

We hope that you all are excited for the Young Professionals cultural event TONIGHT, Sushi Rolling Night with Young Professionals! Have a look at the interesting facts about the history of sushi to prepare you for the amazing cultural event that is in store for you this week!

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The first meaning of the Chinese symbol for sushi is believed to be “those made with fish”, then became “food where fish is pickled by rice and salt”. This cuisine bares little resemblance to the Japanese sushi we enjoy now!

With sushi readily available to most cultures around the world due to globalization, it has rapidly become a popular dish around the globe and even a symbol of Japanese culture. However, the sushi that most cultures experience today is not exactly how it was introduced to Japan during it’s inception. There are many forms of sushi that exist. The very first form of sushi introduced in Japan was called Narezushi. During the process of creating the Narezushi form of sushi, raw fish were stuffed with rice and then placed through a fermentation process. The fermentation process would take a couple of months until it was almost complete. Before the process of fermentation was complete, the fish stuffed with rice were prepared for people to eat in order to save the rice from dissolving. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Japanese sushi was transformed into more of a commonly produced food.

During the 19th century, as commoners began to receive permission to create businesses of their own, sushi transformed into a new form called edomaezushi, and became a type of fast food in Japan. Raw pieces of fish were placed on top of rolled squares of rice infused with vinegar. During this time, merchants were forced to become creative in the preservation of the fish used for sushi as raw fish spoils quickly. Depending on the type of fish they were using, merchants would cover their product in salt, wasabi, vinegar, or soy sauce. This allowed merchants to keep their product for a longer, although still limited, amount of time. Edomaezushi is now popular all throughout the world and sometimes changes shape to compliment other cultures. In the United States some types of Edomaezushi come with an assortment of sauces that you wouldn’t typically see in Japan.

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The earliest written mention of sushi, according to OED, was in the 1893 book “Japanese Interiors”

Sushi has made a drastic change in America. A prime example of this change can be seen with the extremely popular California roll. There is a legend that says Japanese sushi chef Ichiro Mashita is actually the chef that created the California roll. Upon opening one of the very first restaurants that featured a sushi bar in Los Angeles, Mashita wanted to find a substitute for Toro (fatty tuna) in his cuisine. He realized that avocado holds the same greasy texture of Toro and decided to use it as a substitute. He also turned the roll inside out in order to appease his American customers who did not like seeing the Nori (dried seaweed) when eating their sushi, which is how you would typically order sushi in the U.S. today. The type of sushi that Mashita crafted is actually called Makizushi, which is translated as “rolled sushi”. Makizushi and Edozushi are some of the most popular ways that sushi is experienced within the United States!

Now that you have some background into the history of sushi and the different ways it can be experienced we hope that you will join us and your fellow YP’s at Sushi Rolling Night!!

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From Belgium to UK: A Recap of the 2012 Consuls Ball, Boston’s Global Gala

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The United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) hosted our annual Consuls Ball – an elegant, high-spirited international event that gives tribute to the city’s global leaders of today while benefiting the global leaders of tomorrow – at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston on this past Friday evening, April 27. Nearly 400 guests and 34 consuls who facilitate business, trade, education, and other linkages in the state came out to celebrate the international community in Boston. The day was also a celebration of Governor Deval Patrick’s proclamation of April 27 as the official Consuls Day in Massachusetts.

The Consuls Ball commenced as the 34 members of the Consular Corps of Boston in attendance, from Belgium to the UK, processed into the packed Ballroom for acknowledgment. A toast was given by Dr. Arese Carrington, UNA-GB Board Vice President, recognizing the lasting economic and cultural impact of the Corps, which now numbers almost 60 Consulates in Boston, or nearly one third of UN Member States.

“Today, so-called ‘democratic space’ has expanded to all corners of the world; a development never witnessed before in the history of mankind,”shared Ambassador Kazuo Kodama, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, who gave keynote remarks at the Ball.  “Yet, one of the most difficult challenges confronting the UN at this juncture is how to assist countries in transition in rooting democracy and the rule of law in their home soil… I can provide full assurances that Japan is committed to extending our continued support in cooperation with the efforts of the international community at large.”  See Ambassador Kodama’s full remarks here.

The night had a special focus on Japan, with the Ball falling at the end of the first week of the new nonstop flight linking Boston to Tokyo and the rest of Asia, an event certain to extend Boston’s global footprint and strengthen economic and cultural ties not only between Boston and Japan, but between all of New England and Asia.  The Ball also coincided with the Cherry Blossom Centennial, as well as the one year marker of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.  Along with Ambassador Kodama’s remarks, the night showcased the best of Japanese culture, from Taiko drumming to stunning Ikebana centerpieces to sushi and a special Cherry Blossom Cosmo.  The night was capped by a raffle drawing of a dream trip on the new JAL Dreamliner direct flight to Tokyo (retail value $5,000), which was won by Calvin Williams, resident of Arlington.   Roy Chase,  of Hyannisport, was the other lucky winner of our second raffle drawing – a gorgeous 18 Karat White Gold Pearl and Diamond bracelet (retail value $2,500) donated by Shreve, Crump and Low and designed by Mastoloni Pearls.

Not only did the Consuls Ball recognize current global leadership, but it also raised money for the future global leaders in Boston area schools, who are preparing to live and work in an ever more globalized world.  The Consuls Ball supports UNA-GB’s Model UN programs, which teach 6th-12th grade students in local public schools to think critically about complex global issues, increase their understanding of diversity and the world beyond our borders, and provide them with conflict resolution and public speaking skills.

“[Model UN] is an opportunity to have a voice, to jump out of your comfort zone, and most importantly take that experience into the future such as in college, the working place, and society in general”,shared Stephanie Thermora, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and active Model UN participant.  “Every student should have an opportunity to participate in a Model UN program because every student has in something they can share with the world and the capability to change the world.”

In the 2011-2012 school year, close to 3,000 students — more than half from urban schools — participated in nearly 100 schools throughout the Greater Boston area.

The evening’s events were closed with a final toast by our fearless Board President, Richard Golob, in recognition of the next generation of global leaders, our youth participants in Model UN.  It was a beautiful night of international celebration and support, and we are deeply grateful for all the support and energy provided by our sponsors, table hosts, guests and volunteers!

See photos from the Reception and Dinner Program.  You can also see our coverage in the Boston Globe’s PartyLines section.  And check back soon for a video recap!

We hope you can join us in April 2013 for the next Consuls Ball!

-UNA-GB staff