Now, most of you probably know that, in our family, the preference for seriously strong, extra hot, extra spicy, or “kick-you-in-the-mouth” kind of food experiences belongs to Joel. Tonight, I had a combination of all four of the above categories rolled into one small food experience.
One of our student’s mothers was at the school this evening, and asked if I’ve ever tried sashimi. Well, I hadn’t, though I quite enjoy all the sushi I’ve tried thus far. So, she grabbed a plate and put a couple of pieces of raw fish on it, and mixed together some soy sauce and (before I could say, “only a little please”) the biggest clump of wasabi I’ve ever seen.
Now, I’ve had wasabi several times before…and (being one of those seriously strong, extra hot, extra spicy, kick-you-in-the mouth flavours that are Joel’s domain) I am not a huge fan. Not only that, but this clump of wasabi had to have been bigger than all the amounts from all of my previous wasabi tastings rolled into one and then multiplied by ten. But, I thought….hey, it can’t be that much stronger. Not to mention that I was now sort of obligated to try it and it was too late to adjust the wasabi quantity.
So, I gamely grabbed my chopsticks, and maneuvered the first piece into my mouth. At that moment, my sinus cavities erupted into a blazing inferno, my tongue, lips, and even my teeth felt as though they’d been dissolved in acid, and I burst into tears….all while simultaneously trying to look not nearly as startled as I felt. Fortunately, my benefactress wasn’t watching as I tried the first piece. She did however, catch the identical repeat reactions that occurred as I ate both the second and third pieces. While laughing almost hysterically, she asked me “ni bu xihuan ma?” (“you don’t like it?”) and I answered (honestly, believe it or not…and in Chinese, believe it or not!)…”No, it’s okay! But really, really hot! I need a drink of water!” She and Yang Mama (our boss’s mother, who works at the school with us) thought the whole thing was quite amusing, and kept laughing even as I coughed, hacked, sniffed, tried to catch my breath, and tried to regain my composure.
So there you go…the story of how I got assaulted by the wasabi, and the story of how – even though I’ve now tried sashimi – I still don’t know if I like it or not. Because really, the only thing that my senses recall of the experience was being smacked across the face, kicked in the mouth, and generally punished by the wasabi. To be honest, I’m not even sure there was any fish involved…at least, I sure don’t remember it. :D