Abundance: Finding the American Dream In A Japanese Kitchen
Sacramento-based restaurants Mikuni have made a place for themselves by being well-designed, innovative sushi-focused outlets. Taro Arai, the founder, had a rough start, coming to America at age fifteen and using his newspaper route money to help pay to bring his parents and family to America after he arrived. Early on, the family had a small Japanese restaurant, well before sushi or Asian restaurants were as ubiquitous as they are now. Arai moved from those humble beginnings to being rated Most Popular Restaurant in Sacramento, Sacramento ZAGAT Guide: 2009, 2010 amount many other recognitions.
Many chef-written biographies focus on the successes, and while Arai does mention those in Abundance, he also is honest about those early years and the cultural differences and mistakes he made along the way. And in Arai’s own fashion, he tells those stores through his recipes, with things like “American Dream Roll” in the first chapter about his dream as a young child to come to American from Japan, the “Murphy’s Roll” for the saying “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” and “Mr. No Problem” roll for the nickname he earned as his standard answer when asked for something unusual.
Abundance is also filled with old family photos, stories, quotes, and enthusiasm. It goes above the traditional restaurant cookbook and provides an intimate look at one family’s love, faith and talent that just happened to take place in a Japanese kitchen. There are lessons in sushi preparation, unique recipes, and tips for doing it yourself, a Japanese/English vocabulary for ordering and etiquette lessons for eating sushi the traditional ways. Fans of the Mikuni restaurants and sushi lovers will find much to appreciate in it, but so will those looking for an inspirational story of a successful search for the American dream.
|Blue Fig Publishing
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