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Sushi was introduced into Japan in the 7th century from China. Historically, fish was salted and then sandwiched between layers of rice, then pressed down with heavy stones. This process would preserve the fish for months and sometimes up to a few years. The rice was used to help start the fermenting process and was thrown out afterwards and only the fish was eaten. Because of food shortages that followed years later, rice became too valuable to be discarded and this method of preserving fish began to change. It was later found around the year 1600 that the same curing and sour flavor could be achieved by using vinegar to prepare the rice.

Saké was first brewed in Japan after the practice of wet rice cultivation was introduced around 300 B.C., though the origins of saké can be traced in China as far back as 4,000 B.C. The basic process of making saké involves "polishing" or milling the rice kernels, which are then cooked in good, clean water and made into a mash. It was in the 1300s that mass production of saké allowed it to become Japan's most important drink. In the years that followed the production process was improved, and saké breweries grew throughout the nation.

Together, they represent a Japanese culture that has only been half embraced in the west. While sushi can be found pre-packaged at many supermarkets, and larger cities will have a sushi restaurant, few Americans have ever tried saké. The goal here is to gather an appreciation for both by eating homemade sushi and tasting several kinds of saké.

Join us for Sushi & Saké.