The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy

The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this intriguing first book, Philadelphia-based journalist Issenberg roams the globe in search of sushi and takes the reader on a cultural, historical and economic journey through the raw-fish trade that reads less like economics and more like an entertaining culinary travelogue. In the years since the end of WWII, the practical protein-and-rice delicacy once unknown outside Japan has become so commonplace that the elements of its trade affect a far-flung global network of fanatics, chefs, tuna ranchers and pirates.
While the West reached out for things Japanese, from management techniques to Walkmans, the growth of the market for quality fish, especially maguro, the bluefin tuna beloved by sushi eaters everywhere, paralleled Japan's rise from postwar ruin to 1980s economic powerhouse and into its burst-bubble present. Issenberg follows every possible strand in this worldwide web of history, economics and cuisine—an approach that keeps the book lively with colorful places and characters, from the Tokyo fish market to the boats of North Atlantic fishermen, from tuna ranches off the coast of Australia to the sushi bars in Austin, Tex. He weaves the history of the art and cuisine of sushi throughout, and his smart, lively voice makes the most arcane information fascinating. (May)
From Bookmarks Magazine
Sasha Issenberg, an investigative reporter at Philadelphia magazine, gained national notoriety a few years ago when he fact-checked David Brooks's article in the Atlantic Monthly, 'One Nation, Slightly Divisable.' He found plenty of errors and generalizations. With The Sushi Economy, he impressed critics with his thoughtful and well-written account of how sushi became the world's favorite luxury cuisine. Filled with interesting detail, the book also contains surprising facts and anecdotes that critics were quick to quote. The New York Times felt the narrative sometimes dragged, with one passage that describes a fish being transferred from boat to dock feeling 'longer than the flight to Japan.' Other critics thought Issenberg strained too much on occasion, for example by comparing sushi chefs with samurai. Despite these minor criticisms, reviewers overall recommended this book as a fascinating view of the global economy.

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