This week, I had my first food complaint in years. A dear little old lady who is quite a well-known character here in Katanning called me to complain that she ate some sushi which tasted like petrol, burned her mouth and throat badly, and which made her sick for days. My complainant is a little dotty and is one of these folks with whom it is hard to get a word edgeways into the conversation. She also had half a dozen other problems that she needed to tell me about, none of which I could help her with. But at least I could listen, so I did. She vented and told me her troubles, changing tack frequently, sometimes mid-sentence. I made soothing noises and offered the occasional word of advice, but mostly listened.
Finally after about twenty minutes we worked our way back to the sushi food complaint. I asked if she still had any and she told me she had thrown it all away. No evidence then. I asked where she bought it.
I happen to know Woollies do not sell sushi, only the ingredients. “Are you sure?”I asked.
“Maybe, or maybe somewhere else”.
As far as I know there is no one at all selling sushi here in Katanning. I wish there was. I had a sudden desire to have some. The last time had been when I was over in Queensland with the girls.
Did you buy it yourself? -“No, my nephew did. It made him sick too. It was poison!”
I knew I was not going to learn where it had been bought. Almost certainly not in Katanning, and in any case I was now beginning to suspect there was no offence to investigate.
Have you had sushi before? “Yes”.
Did it have some green stuff like mustard in it? “Yes. It tasted like petrol”
Have you had the green stuff before? “No. They shouldn’t be allowed to sell food like that”.
That is called Wasabi, and it is a hot horseradish paste, like mustard. A lot of people like it, but if it does not agree with you I think you should avoid it in future. I don’t think I can help you with this, since there s no food left to analyse, but I will call in on Woolworth’s and discuss the complaint with them. I’ll tell them to be more careful about who they sell wasabi to.
“Thank you Alan”. She was appeased and, having vented, had now forgotten her other woes temporarily. Another happy customer.
I did call in on Woolworth’s and a couple of other places that might sell sushi. None do. Woolworth’s do have all the makings, however. I went back after work and bought the necessary ingredients: rice, sauces, vinegar, nori, chicken for making teriaki, smoked salmon, avocado, tuna, pickles, a couple of mats and – of course – wasabi.
Sushi this weekend! Lots of sushi!
Thanks for the suggestion.