Everything you need to know about sushi varieties and accompaniments, etiquette and dining tips, and more.
Lowry, restaurant critic for St. Louis Magazine, offers an amenable guide to the little-known (to Westerners) world of sushi. A sort of sushi appreciation course, the book covers everything from the cuisine's history (it wasn't until 1834 that people started eating the kind of sushi we're used to) to the various kinds of sushi (hand-pressed, wrapped and rolled, etc.) and a reasonably comprehensive explanation of ingredients like aji (horse mackerel), kajiki (swordfish) and uni (sea urchin). Lowry's easygoing style can get a little grating as he sidetracks into his umpteenth foray, some readers may want to scream "get to the point already!" but you can't fault him for being approachable. Among his lessons: adding wasabe to a dish of soy sauce for dipping is a big no-no, as is dipping a piece of nigiri sushi (rice with a slice of fish on top) into a bowl of soy sauce rice-side-down (flip the piece upside down just long enough so the fish side is touched with soy sauce). For many people, sushi restaurants are intimidating places, and Lowry's handbook will serve them well as a friendly lifeline.