This month was our summer party, which took us out of Hackney Wick and on a history tour of suffragette sites in East London. There was Pimms, facts aplenty, a bit of heckling and a surprising amount of chat about Angela Lansbury (yes, her out of Murder She Wrote). More on that shortly…
After a few days of fairly rubbish weather, the sun finally came out, justifying our decision that all good walking tours should be undertaken with glass of Pimms in hand! A quick pavement production line was set up and then we were ready to go!
Despite the fact our tour notes didn’t include it, we were actually standing right opposite the Minnie Lansbury Memorial clock on Bow Road, so a quick Google for facts and she was included! A suffragette, she was also married to Edgar Lansbury (son of George Lansbury, mayor of Poplar and leader of the Labour party), who following Minnie’s early death went on to remarry and have a daughter, who turned out to be Angela Lansbury! Minnie herself fought for the rights of widows, orphans and the wounded from WWI, and also served on Poplar’s council in 1919 after a change in the law allowed some women to receive Parliamentary suffrage.
We finally ended up at the Lord Morpeth pub, which has recently had a fantastic suffragette mural painted on the outside in honour of the suffragettes who had their headquarters right next door. The pub sign even used to have an image of a placard-holding suffragette.
And then, just to be contrary and make everyone walk a bit further, we headed to the People’s Park Tavern for a glass of wine (mainly as we’d won a £50 bar tab in the quiz a while back and we wanted to use it!)
This month we decided to learn a bit about sushi making! Not just content to make and eat our own sushi, we also swatted up on the history of the ricey, fishy (and in our case vegetabley) foodstuff…
*The history bit*
Where is sushi from?
Sushi began in south east Asia where the exact location is unknown. In its earliest form sushi was eaten by those who lived along the Mekong river (which spans China, down to Laos and through to Vietnam).
Narazushi (as it was known then) was used to ferment fish, and this was done by wrapping it with rice mixed with salt. Back then the rice was never intended to be eaten!!
It was first introduced to Japan in the Yayoi period (known as the iron age of Japan – around 1000 BC- AD 300) so in a nutshell its really old!!
The type of sushi we know and love today is actually the third type of sushi and was developed by swapping the fermented fish to fresh fish during the Edo period (between 1603- 1868).
So what is the most important part of the sushi?
The most important part is the rice and in Japanese sushi translates to ‘rice seasoned with vinegar, sugar and salt’.
Quick Fire sushi facts!!
Sushi chefs can only work in Japanese restaurants after 10 years of training!
Jiro Ono is known as the world’s greatest sushi chef. He holds 3 Michelin starts in all 4 of his restaurants and started his sushi apprenticeship at the age of 7. At the age of 93 he still makes sushi.
Women in japan are not permitted to be sushi chefs as they have warmer hands, it is believed that they taint the taste and the quality of the fish.
Almost 80% of the worlds blue fin tuna that is caught is used for sushi.
The most expensive piece of tuna was sold for $396,000 in Tokyo in 2011.
Sushi comes in many types, the most common being Maki.
If you use soy sauce with your sushi only use a small amount as wasting soy sauce in Japan is seen as disrespectful.
Wasabi was introduced to actually ward off flies and is never mixed with soy sauce in Japan.
Avocado was introduced to sushi in the USA for a substitute for tuna due to its dense/oily texture.
Sushi knives are sharpened daily and are made from the same steel as samurai swords.
Sushi is great source of omega 3 and protein.
Nori (the seaweed sheets that are used in sushi) was originally scraped from the bottom of boats, flattened and left out to dry. Western brands tend to farm and then toast them. Japanese brands tend to still use traditional methods to keep the fishy taste.
One of the first reported consumptions of sushi in the UK was when Crown Prince Akihito came to visit Queen Elizabeth at the time of her coronation in May 1953.
How to make sushi at home?
We used sushi rice (bought from any decent supermarket) and made Maki and California rolls using a range of chopped veg. The BBC website has some great videos which are easier to understand than trying to write it all down!