I used to love sushi. Not the raw fish sushi. The kind that comes in a roll covered in rice and avocado and macadamia nuts and tempura anything and sweet sauce.
Last night we ordered in from our favorite Japanese restaurant. At this point I would like to remind you (and myself) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. “I’d like a nutty shrimp” I said to the man on the other end of the phone, my voice full of regret. “But instead of tempura shrimp I will just have ebi (steamed shrimp) and a yummy yam, but instead of the tempura yam, just steamed yam, oh, and can I have those made with brown rice?”
Thirty minutes later I was dipping rolls of sticky brown rice into my wheat-free tamari and wasabi mixture, coveting the eel soaked in a sweet gluteny sauce that my husband was enjoying. My shrimp was chewy. Have you ever noticed that shrimp on its own as no flavor whatsoever? The yam was yummy, naturally sweet. And who doesn’t love a yam wrapped in brown rice?
This morning I woke up feeling nauseous. Maybe I was unintentionally glutened. Or maybe it was intentional. Either way it wasn’t worth it. I’m thinking of giving up on food all together. Can’t I just take a pill for that? I would happily go for weekly intravenous meals.
When I’m feeling blue, I sometimes call a friend, or buy a lot of shoes, or search the internet. It was too early to call anyone and my bank account is on empty so I googled. I searched gluten-free sushi just to see what somebody else had to say on the subject.
I found one blogger extolling the virtues of sushi when dinning with friends, “… I didn’t need to do as much research upfront and I knew there would be SOMETHING I could eat (even if it was just steamed edamam). ” http://aglutenfreeguide.com/eating-sushi-is-a-gluten-free-dream.html . This made me realize I have been setting the bar a little too high. If I only had her glass-half-full attitude why I could go to any restaurant knowing that at the very least I could have a plate of lettuce.
And then this from Gluten Free: The Celiac Site
“Every celiac should develop a taste for Sushi. Consider one blogger’s suggestion: “Once I was diagnosed with Celiac, sushi restaurants became a haven for my gluten free dining. It’s so much easier to ask someone if they want to go for sushi than look for other gluten free friendly dining establishments. I can just grab my bottle or packets of gluten free soy sauce and head to the restaurant.”
Wow, you make it sound so fun! But wait, there’s a catch…
“Sushi is gluten free, but (as always) there are cross contamination issues. This same blogger continues: “Unfortunately eating sushi gluten free is not completely care-free and there are still things you need to be wary of in order to eat safely. Ask for your fish to be cut with clean utensils on a clean surface. The rising popularity of tempura rolls has increased the chances for cross-contamination here. Tell your server no crab unless they can assure you it’s real, most fake crab meat used in sushi rolls is made with wheat. Most roe (fish eggs) used to top sushi has wheat as an ingredient. Also, ask for no sauce, albacore sashimi usually comes with a forbidden sauce and many white fish are sprinkled with a gluten containing culprit. Eel (unagi) comes soaked in a sweet sauce that is a definite no-no. Double-check the wasabi, ginger and rice to make sure that there are no suspect ingredients.”
Then more joyous news:
- Even the sesame seeds that sometimes coat sushi rolls may be mixed with a wheat product. (WTF!)
- And the sticky rice is sometimes soaked in vinegar containing gluten. (now that’s just mean)
First, can we just all agree that gluten-free and carefree should not be used in the same paragraph?
Second, I am never going to utter these words in a restaurant, “please make sure my fish is cut with clean utensils on a clean surface” . It’s just not going to happen.
Third, I’ll just have a large sake.