While I still technically have one week left to go (the dreaded night shift), for all intents and purposes my internship is pretty much over. Since Friday was the last time I would be working with the group of people that over the last couple months have pushed me to work harder than I ever have in my life, I thought it would be nice to bring something to share. But what do you feed to a bunch of chefs?
Originally I wanted to bring something American, seeing as everyone in the kitchen is either French or an expat of some other European country. However this led to a minor existential conundrum because, really, what is American cuisine? I ruled out desserts (apple pie, chocolate chip cookies) because they didn't seem worthy of my colleagues, which left a small group of savory dishes that were impractical because they either wouldn't keep well overnight or I had no experience preparing them (ribs, fried chicken).
My parents suggested sushi because it's easy to make, share and transport, not to mention that everyone likes it. (Sushi restaurants are everywhere in Paris - some chains even deliver to your apartment). I should note that there is some small irony in me, fourth generation Japanese American on my father's side, preparing a traditional dish like this. Back in the states I am what is often referred to as a "Twinkie" or "banana" (i.e. yellow on the outside; white on the inside). So, like any clueless person trying something new, I took to the internet for advice. (I had "made" sushi before at home, by which I mean my parents did most of the work while I nibbled on scraps).
I found all the ingredients I needed at a Japanese grocery store near Opéra - including a cheater's solution of sushi rice seasoning and a bamboo mat for rolling - and, armed with some food bloggers' tips, proceeded to make California (crab, cucumber, avocado) and Seattle (cucumber, smoked salmon, cream cheese) rolls. I think my favorite piece of internet advice came from Yahoo Answers, where a reader suggested rolling sushi "like you would a large joint." (Don't worry; I didn't lick the seaweed at the end).
Come Friday, maybe it was just the hunger of lunch being many hours past, but the food pretty much all disappeared by the time I finished thanking everyone for the experience and the opportunity. No one had tried a Seattle roll before, so I suppose I did manage to bring a little taste of home.