Why I Love This Recipe
The warm summer sun beat down on my face as I waited silently on my front deck. The wood screeched a protest as I shifted my weight, the boards wanting nothing to do with newly added pressure. Ignoring its pleas for mercy I stared out into my driveway, tapping my foot and gnawing on my lip. The whoosh of wind rattled the bright green leaves, tossing them about on their branches and trying to rip them away. Ponytail swishing I tried to look through the branches and tree trunks to the road not far off.
Slowly time passed by and my nerves ate away at me until I was seconds from flinging myself back into the house and giving up on waiting. I’d never been patient and standing out there for nearly half an hour was testing how long I really could last. Finally, seconds from my departure, the soft rumble of a car pulled around the driveway’s bend and brought into sight the familiar red sheen of my mother’s car. I didn’t know what really to do with myself so I simply squealed with delight and raced off through the house. Inside I plummeted down the steps and towards the basement door. I didn’t bother to put on shoes so it was a painful race over the rocks and onto the sweltering pavement. Hopping from foot to foot I winced at the unforgiving heat and made a mental note to grab shoes next time I went out.
From outside the car I could see my Auntie Peg sitting in the front seat, laughing at my odd dance from the burning of the pavement. She smiled out at me, the dimples in her cheeks and the crinkles by her eyes wonderfully familiar characteristics about my aunt. She pushed open the car door and stepped out, my Oba-Chan following suit behind her from the back seat. She smiled over at me, both walking over and pulling me into two separate hugs. Their brown eyes were alive and bright as they hurried me inside, knowing my feet stung painfully from the unforgiving sun and it’s impossible heat.
They were supposed to stay for three days so we made the most of our time. They got their early the first day so we had the whole day to share together. At least that’s what I’d been hoping for. They obviously had different plans considering they’d excused themselves to take naps due to the three hour time difference and jet lag they were experiencing. For the most part of that first day I sat in my room with a smug look. Either that or I’d be out in the living room watching TV to try and make the time pass quicker.
Finally in early evening my Aunt and Oba-chan woke up and decided to make dinner with us. It was only pasta but they still helped. the first day was mostly staying in and talking; the adults conversing about how they’ve been and what they’ve been doing since they’d last seen each other. Parent stuff. At the end of the night we watched a movie together and I was sent off to bed, being ten wasn’t easy you know.
The next morning my aunt was somehow up bright an early, the fresh scent of pancakes looming in the air. Both my brother and I seemed to be out of our rooms at the exact same time, racing towards the overpowering scent of pancakes and half-burnt chocolate chips. There was orange juice set out on the counter and two plates of pancakes were already awaiting my arrival. Well mine and my brothers but who really counts him?
Oba-chan came down around a half an hour later, my mom, aunt, and I all inviting her to the table while my brother scrambled away to do something in his room. Oba-chan told us she wanted to make sushi for us that night- California rolls in particular. We didn’t have much in the way of any ingredients so we had to go to the store. My brother and Aunt decided to stay home instead of going out and helping with buying the groceries.
At the store we gathered the necessities for the sushi. Once back home Connor was on the computer and my aunt helped bring everything back inside from the grocery store. When everything was inside and in the refrigerator we sat in the living room, watching TV and talking.
It wasn’t a regular occurrence for family to be here considering my family is the only one that lives on the East Coast. The majority of my mother’s side lives in California while my dad’s side lives in Oregon. They only come over every so often and I don’t remember the last time they’d been over before then. The last time they’d come over was probably when I was four or five, I don’t remember it but that’s what my mother had said.
Bright blue skies puffed cigar smoke clouds, contaminating its perfect blue and turning it white with a thin wispy layer of clouds. We stayed inside like we had the previous day, talking and trying to catch up on what had happened over the past few years. Obviously my mother and aunt talked as well as with my Oba-chan but we hadn’t been to California it felt like forever. We spend most of our time together talking because our family doesn’t do much in the way of playing games with one another.
Dinner time came fast and unexpected, the sun dropping and icing the clouds an array of pinks and oranges. The temperature sloped down, causing the AC’s to be shut off and the screen door to be shut. The warmer air trapped inside while the summer settled into what could be imagined as spring air stalking around the house, trying to find somewhere to penetrate its walls and invade the house once more. Hissing winds rattled windows and doors as we gathered in the kitchen and pulled out the groceries from earlier in the day.
My mother helped my Oba-chan set out the supplies to make the sushi and started the rice, a proud smile covering her face as she cooed for me to come over to her. Eager to help, I scurried over with wide hopeful eyes and waited for information on why she had called me over. She opened the bag of crab meat with graceful fingers before opening the pack of avocados and quietly instructing me on what to do. Connor had seen me helping and had decided to butt in and try and help to. After a moment of bickering the trouble started. My Oba-chan knew the rice was done and so she moved around us silently, not even caring to give us a glance of acknowledgement, she’d already had her fair share of children’s banter.
“I want to help!”
“Well I was helping first!”
“Oba-chan never said I couldn’t!” And for what felt like a lifetime the banter and mocking shouts continued. We were too caught up in our debacle to realize Oba-chan was humming quietly to herself as she rolled the sushi around the nori and sticking in the crab and avocado before sticking in the small pin sized cucumber rectangles and setting them onto a plate.
A life time or two later I gave up on arguing and turned to my Oba-chan who looked very pleased with herself as she rolled up the last California roll and set it onto the shiny pink plate. “Don’t fight,” she said calmly, words thickly accented. She smiled over at us before gesturing a hand to the plate, a silent offering for us to take it and eat. Glaring momentarily at my brother, I turned back to my Oba-chan and chirped a ‘thank you’ before grabbing the plate and rushing into the living room. Connor followed in seconds after, muttering how I had to share and it wasn’t fair to hoard the delicious treat to myself.
My mom let us be for the next day, deciding it was time for more grown up things. The day passed in a blur of voices and noises, shouts and laughter and colorful things passing before my eyes. Soon enough it was time to see my Aunt Peg and my Oba-chan out. Their bags were packed and their faces composed of sadness and prolonging. They dawdled their way to the car, their feet dragging and their bags seeming to have gained at least ten pounds. We said our sad goodbyes late that night, the freezing air nipping at my toes and exposed skin. Another few minutes of warding off their departure passed before my mom insisted they had to go with a sorry sigh. I nodded, pliant under my mother’s orders to go back inside. Jogging in, I made my way upstairs and to the familiar deck, padding onto the wooden surface.
The sky was a cerulean blue, clouds nonexistent in the sky and moon starting to fight it’s way up over the skyline of trees.The milky white shining full and bright on my family. It was too early for the twinkling stars to be out, too late though for much animal noises except the consistent chirping of a cricket. My gaze drifted back to the small red Toyota slowly backing out the driveway. The familiar sight of my mother in the driver’s seat backing out of the driveway with her two passengers smiling sadly at me and waving. After a few shivering minutes of staring at the end of the driveway I scampered back into the house, teeth chattering and goosebumps raised over my skin.
Submitted by: "Chloe G."
Ingredients You'll Need
1 cup uncooked short-grain white rice
1 cup water
½ teaspoon crab meat, finely chopped
2 avocados - pitted, peeled, and sliced the long way
8 sheets nori (dried seaweed)
1 cucumber, cut into thin spears
Wash the rice in several changes of water until the rinse water is no longer cloudy, drain well, and place in a covered pan or rice cooker with 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the pan.
Allow the rice to simmer until the top looks dry, about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes to absorb the rest of the water.
To roll the sushi, cover a bamboo rolling mat with plastic wrap.
Lay a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the plastic wrap.
With wet fingers, firmly pat a thin, even layer of prepared rice over the nori, leaving 1/4 inch uncovered at the bottom edge of the sheet.
Sprinkle the rice with about 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds, and gently press them into the rice.
Carefully flip the nori sheet over so the seaweed side is up.
Place 2 or 3 long cucumber spears, 2 or 3 slices of avocado, and about 1 tablespoon of imitation crab mixture in a line across the nori sheet, about 1/4 from the uncovered edge.
Pick up the edge of the bamboo rolling sheet, fold the bottom edge of the sheet up, enclosing the filling, and tightly roll the sushi into a cylinder about 1 1/2 inch in diameter.
Once the sushi is rolled, wrap it in the mat and gently squeeze to compact it tightly.
Cut each roll into 1 inch pieces with a very sharp knife dipped in water.