This is one of my favourite quotes, and I apply it to my travel philosophy all the time. Try new things. Experience new places. Meet new people. Get out there and make the most of your life instead of wrapping yourself in the comforts and safety of your own home. At least, when you have the time and money!
However, I realized a while ago that I don't usually apply this to my every day life. Of course, having children was a major step outside of my comfort zone, but now life with my kidlets is the new normal. And once again, I seem to have settled into a daily routine that sometimes threatens to become a rut.
So... I decided I was going to try something new, and I signed up for a cooking class at our local Lifelong Learning Association. I am a great cook when it comes to the staple meals I love to make: sweet dijon chicken with scalloped potatoes (from a box) and Parmesan asparagus, honey garlic salmon with Asian green beans, and chicken and leek lasagna are a few of my signature dishes. Yes, they have a little flair, but for the most part are simple, easy, and quick to whip up.
But sushi was something that has always been on my bucket list to learn how to create. Today I can confidently say that I now know how to make sushi, at least a basic roll.
My class was a small one consisting of eleven 'students' and one teacher, which was nice because she was able to answer our questions and bring us supplies pretty much instantly. She had the rice pre-made for us, so that is something that I will still have to learn to do. (Don't scoff - I'm surprisingly bad at making rice.) Our teacher demonstrated how to make two different types of California rolls, then handed us our supplies and set us loose.
I was amazed at how easy it is to make sushi. I always thought that it would be a long, drawn-out process, but I was wrong. The most time-consuming aspect is the preparation - making the rice, cutting the vegetables, blanching some vegetables (such as carrots or asparagus), and shopping for supplies. But once you are prepared, you can whip out rolls like you are a one-woman factory! Our teacher even gave us some tips to make prep even easier, such as cut your veggies the evening before, and cook the rice in the morning, then put it into a roaster and have it stay warm until you are ready to roll (literally).
My favourite part was the actual rolling process, where you roll, pull the mat out, squish, roll, pull the mat out, squish, and on and on until the sushi roll is nicely compacted and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I also had fun mashing the sticky rice onto the seaweed paper with wet fingers (you MUST use wet fingers or you will have rice attached to them for the rest of your days).
Because of the small size of the class, I was able to make three full rolls - one traditional California roll with the crab sticks, one roll with shrimp, and one roll with shrimp, crab AND smoked salmon. Yum! Dinner for tonight is done!
I am glad that I stepped out of my culinary comfort zone and tried learning a new cooking skill. Now that I know how simple sushi is to make, I know I can add it to the usual rotation of yummy dinners that I like to feed my family. And if I ever travel to Japan - which might be in the works! Stay tuned! - I can take a class there and build on my knowledge base.
If you have a sushi-making class in your area, I encourage you to try it! It is tons of fun, very informative, and the best part, extremely tasty!