Serviceberry Rust and Poke Dangers

Last year our serviceberry tree (what a bourgeois way to start a sentence!) was afflicted with rust. This picture of the berries taken with a macro lens looks alarmingly like a certain virus.

Say No To Worms

Are you eating raw salmon? In sashimi or poke form? Many fish can be eaten raw safely but be wary of salmon.

Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio, Clostridium botulinum, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Hepatitis A and Norovirus. Nematodes. Reasons to avoid raw salmon even if you pulled it out of the ocean yourself. Especially when you’re dealing with that nasty farmed stuff.

As writer Joseph Mitchell once said (I’m paraphrasing here) the best way to serve fish is to broil it and serve it with nothing but lemon.

An elaborate fish or shellfish dish can be great but the poke that is overwhelmed with sesame oil and onions and stuff? Hawaiian cuisine is overrated, dude*.

*After monitoring my children and their friends I have determined that the word “dude” is used universally as a non gender-specific term of endearment.

Down the Kewpie Rabbit Hole

A child steered me to a dish trending on TikTok that was easy to prepare: broiled salmon with rice, sriracha sauce, kewpie mayonaise and nori. Bought kewpie mayo for the first time. The packaging is odd - a flimsy plastic container. When you remove the foil where all the information is printed it becomes this weird pliable anonymous flask. Kewpie contains MSG. I’m fine with that but also consider it to be cheating - quality food doesn’t need MSG to enhance taste.

The kewpie doll was a huge deal over a hundred years ago and there’s no time here to talk about how weird the whole fad was. Kewpie mayonaise has a version of the doll on their label as a registered trademark. Note to culture pirates and post-modern artists: anything created before 1924 is in the public domain.

We all know that the finest mayonaise available at supermarkets in the U.S.A. is Best Foods/Hellmans, owned by the same multinational corporate conglomerate that controls the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand. Kewpie is the best-selling brand in Japan.

You can make better mayo yourself, but it’s perishable because of the raw eggs and nobody has time for that.

–Alex