Last Sunday’s Mad Men (best episode ever, maybe) had a scene in Benihana, where Don Draper notices his date using chopsticks and asks, with a raised eyebrow, “you know how to use those?”
What? Suave Don Draper can’t use chopsticks? He’s not easy to impress, so you know using chopsticks then must have been a sign of major worldliness.
I wish it were still like that. Now, everyone uses chopsticks. You’re a total goon if you eat any form of Asian food with silverware.
And that’s me. I’m that goon. I’m terrible with chopsticks. I realize now how much Steven liked me when we first went out, because on that second or third date at Blue Ribbon Sushi, he didn’t say a word as I asked for a knife and fork and then went at my hamachi roll like it was a porterhouse steak.
Now, he makes me practice with chopsticks. He says, no trip to Japan for me until I’m proficient. It’s not like there’s a plane outside waiting to whisk us off to Japan, but it’s still a good threat. He also says I’m not ready for the really good places in midtown where the Japanese businessmen go. The sushi there is supposed to a-MAY-zing.
So I try. But I suck. I can’t get a grip on anything. The sticks just roll around in my hand and miss each other at the bottom. It’s like that thing in the arcade where you put in a quarter and try to get a prize with the mechanical claw. Does anyone ever win anything from those machines?
Thing is, even if I were good at chopsticks, they wouldn’t do it for me – unless they made them with a serrated knife edge so you could use them for slicing. Sushi is too big and too expensive to shove in your mouth all at once. I like little bites. Big bites make your food disappear faster without giving any more enjoyment. And you know what happens when you try to bite a sushi roll in half. The only choice is to cram the whole thing in.
Who decided sushi rolls should be cut into six pieces and not twelve? Those sushi chefs get to use big, sharp knives. It seems unfair. I’d like them to try preparing it with chopsticks so they’d know what I’m up against.
At least I’m not alone. My sister’s on my team. We used to go for sushi and she’d bring a knife and fork in her purse. Plus, an extra set for me.
Very old-lady of her, and very awesome.
I guess neither of us gets to go to Japan. Or midtown. But maybe we can have sushi with Don Draper.