Main article: History of sushi
Sushi by Hiroshige in Edo period
The traditional form of sushi is fermented fish and rice, preserved with salt in a process that has been traced to Southeast Asia, where it remains popular today. The term sushi comes from an archaic grammatical form no longer used in other contexts; literally, "sushi" means "it's sour", a reflection of itshistoric fermented roots.
The science behind the fermentation of fish packed in rice is that the vinegar produced from fermenting rice breaks the fish down into amino acids. This results in one of the five basic tastes, called umami in Japanese. The oldest form of sushi in Japan, Narezushi still very closely resembles this process. In Japan, Narezushi evolved into Oshizushi and ultimately Edomaenigirizushi, which is what the world today, knows as "sushi."
Modern Japanese sushi has little resemblance to the traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Originally, when the fermented fish was taken out of the rice, only the fish was consumed and the fermented rice was discarded. The strong-tasting and -smelling funazushi, a kind of narezushi made near Lake Biwa in Japan, resembles thetraditional fermented dish.
Beginning in the Muromachi period (AD 1336–1573) of Japan, vinegar was added to the mixture for better taste and preservation. The vinegar accentuated the rice's sourness, and was known to increase its life span, allowing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. In the following centuries, sushi in Osaka evolved into oshi-zushi. The seafood and ricewere pressed using wooden (usually bamboo) molds. By the mid 18th century, this form of sushi had reached Edo (contemporary Tokyo).
The contemporary version, internationally known as "sushi," was invented by Hanaya Yohei (華屋与兵衛; 1799–1858) at the end of Edo period in Edo. The sushi invented by Hanaya was an early form of fast food that was not fermented (therefore prepared quickly) and could beeaten with one's hands roadside or in a theatre. Originally, this sushi was known as Edomae zushi, because it used freshly caught fish in the Edo-mae (Edo Bay or Tokyo Bay). Though the fish used in modern sushi no longer usually comes from Tokyo Bay, it is still formally known as Edomae nigirizushi.
Daniel Rodriguez 11/13 Basic 2
History of sushi
Painting of Utagawa Hiroshige of the period Edoshowing a plate with sushi.
The earliest reference of sushi in Japan appeared in the 718 in the Yōrō Code (養老律令 Yōrōritsuryō), a legal document of the era Nara. It was used for the payment of taxes and was written like “雑鮨五斗” (near 64 liters of zatsunosushi or zōshi, knowledge is not had of which it was the exact pronunciación of the term for sushi); during centuries IX and X, 鮨 and 鮓 were read like“sushi” or “sashi”. This “sushi” or “sashi” was similar to present narezushi. During next the 800 years, until century XIX, sushi changed slowly and thus also the Japanese gastronomy. The Japanese began to eat three meals to the day, the rice happened to be boiled instead of spanish stew to the steam, and most important, the rice vinegar was invented. While sushi continued being done fermentedthe rice along with, the time of fermentation was reduced gradually and the rice was begun to eat with the fish. In the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573), the process was developed to create oshizushi. It consisted of replacing the fermentation by the use of the vinegar. In the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573 - 1603), namanari was invented. The dictionary Japanese-Portuguese of 1603 includes an entrancefor namanrina sushi, literally sushi to means to do. Namamari was fermented during a period shorter than narezushi and possibly marinaba with rice vinegar, which conferred a scent to him different from narezushi. The strong scent of narezushi was probably one of the reasons of the shortening and possible disappearance of the fermentation process. Writings of the time described the scent of the...