mental_floss: A Brief History of Sushi in the United States


A PLATE OF SUSHI IN THE 1970S, VIA GETTY IMAGES

I’ve got a new article up on mental_floss, and it digs up the history of sushi!

In the 1950s many Americans were somewhat resistant to Japanese food and culture, in part because they had lived through World War II and still perceived Japan as “the enemy.” But by the 1960s, the tide had started to turn: Food journalist and restaurant critic Craig Claiborne, writing for The New York Times dining section during that decade, was excited by international dining and kept tabs on the city’s numerous Japanese restaurants. He declared Japanese food a trend in New York after two establishments opened in 1963, noting that “New Yorkers seem to take to the raw fish dishes, sashimi and sushi, with almost the same enthusiasm they display for tempura and sukiyaki.” However, he admitted, “sushi may seem a trifle too ‘far out’ for many American palates”

Today, meeting friends for sushi is almost as American as going out for a beer and a pizza. It’s proof positive that when we leave our hearts—and plates—open to other cultures, good things often come of it. Find out how we became sushi lovers: I talk about America’s first sushi restaurants, the TV miniseries that made Americans obsessed with Japan, and how some “American-style” sushi rolls are making their way back across the ocean! Read more here.

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