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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Uni and Friendship

I've recently begun experimenting with trying things I'm afraid of. Not dumb stuff, like going a hundred miles an hour, but reasonable things a conservative person like myself might try in attempt to stretch my comfort zone. Sometimes it works out brilliantly. Other times, not so much.

I'm a squeamish person. I do not do blood or bodily fluids, which is my husband's parenting role in our marriage. Part of my squeamishness involves food. I do not like uncooked meat. I'm so terrified of food poisoning that I'll only eat my meat well-done. Medium well is what I consider a daring adventure. So sushi is really outside my realm of comfort.

However, a few years ago, I began experimenting with sushi. I started with California rolls, and then one day, I asked my friend Camy, who is a sushi expert, to introduce me to the good stuff. So she did. I became a huge fan of unagi. Since then, whenever I go for sushi, I make a point to try something new. Which is easy since I don't go for sushi very often.

The other night, I had a girls night with my BFF. She and I have sushi on occasion, and we take turns getting something new. I decided to try uni.

Here's what you need to know about uni. I learned this from Camy because she has a book called Only Uni. Uni is sea urchin gonads. Let that rattle around in your brain for a while, combined with my squeamishness, and understand why I would be hesitant to try uni.

So there I was, staring down the sushi menu, knowing that what I wanted was unagi, but feeling guilty that I really should try something new. I checked the uni box. My BFF said she'd never had it either. Yay! An adventure for the both of us.

My mistake was eating the unagi first. Because as I ate all my yummy favorites, the uni stared at me, taunting me in its orange glory. "Taste me," it said. But my BFF said, "wow, that looks kinda weird, doesn't it?" Boy, and how!

We were paying for those two pieces of uni, so by George, I was going to try it. No wimpy little tastes for me. I popped part of it in, and took a bite. Then I wanted to die. I gagged it down, then thought that maybe wasabi would make it taste better. For the record, wasabi only makes things that taste good taste better. It makes nasty stuff worse. My second, and last, bite fought me the entire way down. My body rebelled at the hideousness I was forcing it to consume. I grabbed my (thankfully cold) cup of tea and chugged. Those nasty sea urchin gonads fell like a weight to the bottom of my stomach. I wished I still had some unagi to get the nasty taste out of my mouth.

When I finally drank enough tea (half a pot or so) to be able to speak, I told my BFF that it was the worst food experience of my life. But maybe she should try it. She told me she believed me, since she'd never seen me drink so much tea so fast. Being the brave soul that she is, she took a tiny piece of the remaining uni and tried it. I think she might have wished that she hadn't. She also had to drink a lot of tea, and even when we were eating our dessert some time later, I think she could still feel pieces of sea urchin clawing at her stomach. I know I did.

The moral of the story, besides "uni is the nastiest thing I've ever eaten," is that I'm glad I tried it. There, I said it. Because every time I go out for sushi, I'm going to see uni on the menu and I'm going to have a good laugh. I'm always going to remember how my BFF bravely tried a piece too, because she wanted to make me feel better, and because she wanted to be brave, and maybe because she's just a little bit nuts. But that's why I love her. Uni will always remind me of her. And Camy Tang, who told me what it was to begin with. The adventure of friendship is being willing to do something a little outside your comfort zone, and if it works, you can celebrate it. If it fails, you have someone to laugh about it with when it's over.

So go out, grab a friend, and do something outside your comfort zone. You don't have to eat sea urchin gonads. In fact, I recommend you avoid it. But find something you've been curious about, or maybe are a bit afraid of, and try!



camytang said...

I realize you felt you needed to try it, but wasn't I right about telling you NOT to??????

DanicaFavorite said...

I couldn't remember if you told me it was good or gross. We were really close to texting you to ask, but then I remembered you were at youth group. So we decided that we should just try it.