Made-Up Sushi Is Allowed

Before I was ever encroaching upon your lunchtime — I halfheartedly apologize to those of you waiting for a post on turkey subs and potato chips — I wrote a column for Zester Daily called "The 25-Year-Old Picky Eater." I was dating one, needed an outlet for my frustration, and did not alert him to the fact that I was documenting my attempts to feed him. I now realize I'd happened upon a case of Selective Eating Disorder, an actual condition that may be listed in next year's DSM-5 psychiatry manual. And psycho it was.

Anything "of the sea" was not on the menu, nor were eggs, any type of cheese or condiment, anything pickled, fermented or spicy, all but three kinds of know the drill. Everyone knows an extreme picky eater. After I'd successfully tricked him into eating goat cheese via risotto (my antics are world-renowned), I decided sushi would be my ultimate lofty goal. And attain it I did: I rolled broiled brown sugar and soy-marinated pork belly strips and carrots into maki, told him the seaweed was "...uh, black paper" and to just put the thing in his mouth if he ever wanted to get down again.

To my great delight, he chewed, swallowed, and didn't make his "I'm going to puke" face. The one he made when I bribed him with concert tickets to try a bite of diver scallop. Yup, I would have really taken someone else if he hadn't attempted to consume the tiniest shred of $24/lb. mollusk. Guess what else worked in "sushi?" Chicken tenders sliced lengthwise, and bulgogi.

I actually developed an affection for these alternative rolls, and while picky eater guy and I never quite made it to the seafood level, I continue to bring meat maki for lunch on warmer days when carrying around raw fish doesn't seem like the smartest idea. If you can make sushi rice and roll, tamale, you're golden. Make turkey and swiss maki if you have to (you creature of habit), just don't announce it. And as I convinced you to like blue cheese yesterday, I now take credit for the fact that you like sushi.

Picky eater guy, if you're out there, don't fret. Nobody read that old column, anyway. May your sushi be forever devoid of fish, your sandwiches dry and boring and your scallops far, far away.