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Food for the Eye, the Body and the Soul

  • Book
  • © 2009


  • Valuable to connoisseurs and sushi novices alike
  • With tasty recipes, true stories, and deep wisdom
  • Fully illustrated with beautiful photos and traditional Japanese art
  • A practical and philosophical guide for those who cook and those who eat sushi
  • A celebration of sushi as a form of art
  • Explains why sushi is a healthy food choice
  • Written by a multiple prize-winning biophysicist and amateur chef
  • Includes supplementary material:

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About this book

"It is clear that serious research, as well as much imagination, went into every page. It has become my new ‘go-to’ bible when I need a shot of inspiration."

Ken Oringer, internationally renowned and award-winning chef
Clio Restaurant, Uni Sashimi Bar, Boston

"Congratulations on writing such an aesthetically beautiful, informative and inspiring book. ... I shall not hesitate to recommend your book to those colleagues, who like me, are fascinated by Sushi and who will surely be captivated, like me, turning every page."

Dr. Ian C. Forster, April, 2011

• • •

In recent decades, sushi has gone from being a rather exotic dish, eaten by relatively few outside of Japan, to a regular meal for many across the world. It is quickly gathering the attention of chefs and nutritionists everywhere. It has even made its way into numerous home kitchens where people have patiently honed the specialized craft required to prepare it. Few have been more attuned to this remarkable transition than Ole G. Mouritsen, an esteemed Danish scientist and amateur chef who has had a lifelong fascination with sushi’s central role in Japanese culinary culture.

Sushi for the eye, the body, and the soul is a unique melange of a book. In it, Mouritsen discusses the cultural history of sushi then uses his scientific prowess to deconstruct and explain the complex chemistry of its many subtle and sharp taste sensations. He also offers insights from years of honing his own craft as a sushi chef, detailing how to choose and prepare raw ingredients, how to decide which tools and techniques to use, and how to arrange and present various dishes.

Sushi is irresistible for both its simplicity and the hypnotic performance-art aspects that go into its preparation. With clear prose and straightforward instructions, Mouritsen looks at every facet of sushi in a book that is as accessible as it is informative, as useful as it is fun.

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Table of contents (21 chapters)

  1. Sushi – Zen, Passion, Science&Wellness

  2. Life, food & Molecules

  3. “Something from the Sea & Something from the Mountains”

  4. Storage & Conservation

  5. Tols, Preparation & Presenatation


From the reviews:

"Ole G. Mouritsen’s 330-page tome, ‘Sushi: Food for the Eye, the Body & the Soul,’ is … lightweight. … cover everything that could possibly relate to the science, culture, or culinary art of sushi, and go even a bit further. … The book is also a visual masterpiece. … excellent reference for anybody with the remotest inquiry about sushi or any related topics. … respectable index, and a glossary of technical and Japanese terms at the end of the book acts as a good reference." (Sarah Everts, Chemical and Engineering News, November, 2009)

"The book, written by a biophysicist and amateur chef, describes everything you ever wanted to know about sushi – the ingredients, tools and processes involved in the preparation of sushi and its complementary dishes, together with a variety of other information … . This book, beautifully illustrated with photographs and original watercolours … and should be enjoyed by any reader who shares the author’s passion for sushi – including home preparation and consumption and the total experience of the sushi bar." (Jemima Tiller, Chemistry World, December, 2009)

"It was refreshing to peruse a lighter, brighter food-related book, when the refined ‘Sushi: food for the eye, the body & soul’ landed on my doorstep. … Making it all the more engaging, the book was written by a Danish professor of biophysics with a longstanding interest in gastronomy and its scientific basis." (VittlesVamp, December, 2009)

"It is very comprehensive, starting with the philosophy behind sushi, moving through the science of sushi and ending on the practicalities of preparing sushi. … The book is also aesthetically pleasing, with plenty of excellent photos and diagrams. … Overall, this was a very informative and fairly comprehensive book on sushi and Japanese cuisine. It is well written, fairly easy to understand, and visually appealing. … I recommend this book … ." (The Passionate Foodie, December, 2009)

“If you have ever wanted to know everything about sushi … then this is the book you’ve been waiting for. … a beautiful book that would sit comfortably on a coffee table, on a shelf of textbooks at a culinary arts academy, or in the kitchen. … The origins and cultural history of sushi are examined, as well as a thorough guide to all the ingredients and tools used in sushi preparation.” (EAT, January, 2010)

“Of all the books out there written in English about sushi, for me this one by Ole Mouritsen is possibly the most interesting. … Not only does this book explore the basic, key ingredients for sushi … it discusses a far wider range of ingredients and Japanese condiments. … The result – it answers many of the unanswered questions about sushi … . the illustrations and photographs used are of excellent quality and provide an added insight into the variety of ingredients used to make sushi.” (Sarah Wedgbury Consulting, February, 2010)

“This weighty tome is packed with more information … . that’s exactly where it shines. The author’s curiosity and passion about fish is evident throughout. … Sushi will educate readers on all aspects of fish–texture, taste and how they are served. … With an extensive glossary and a rich bibliography, Sushi will find its way onto the bookshelves of chefs and foodies the world over. After consuming this work, readers themselves should be given a PhD in sushi.” (Yukari Sakamoto, Metropolis, April, 2010)

“Sushi – Food for the eye, the body & the soul is the quintessential book on the science of sushi, how it contributes to wellness, and why people have such passion for sushi. … The book is a jewel for sushi lovers everywhere. … Still, for all the eye-popping presentation and first class printing, the heart of the book is in the text. … The writing is richly presented … . Descriptions can be quite technical yet keep an average reader like me enthralled.” (Afar, Chowhound, May, 2010)

“This book … is a thorough examinationof the culture and food science of Japanese sushi, is written by a Danish professor of biophysics. … It’s a molecular gastronomist’s dream book for sushi. … there are plenty of recipes and instructions for preparing sushi. … I am savoring every morsel of information from this excellent book.” (Culinaria Libris, September, 2010)

"As a lifelong enthusiast who has eaten, studied, and sought to 
construct great sushi - from traditional to modern - I was extremely impressed by this wonderful book. It is clear that serious research, as well as much imagination, went into every page. It has become my new `go-to’ bible when I need a shot of inspiration.”

Ken Oringer, internationally renowned and award-winning chef
Clio Restaurant, Uni Sashimi Bar, Boston

"Congratulations on writing such an aesthetically beautiful, informative and inspiring book. ... I shall not hesitate to recommend your book to those colleagues, who like me, are fascinated by Sushi and who will surely be captivated, like me, turning every page."

Dr. Ian C. Forster, April, 2011

"Ole Mouritsen's engrossing book focuses on sushi in its minutest details, but zooms out for extended looks at everything from the tea ceremony and Japanese aesthetics to the biology of nutrition and perception and the originsof life. It's a treatise to consult for its wealth of practical information, and to browse in for the diverting thoughts of an omnivorous mind."

Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking. The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

"With the passion of a connoisseur, the insight of a scientist, and the curiosity of a writer, Ole Mouritsen offers this exquisite meditation on sushi, including its meaning, the art of preparation, eating, and serving it, the health benefits it imparts, and its role in ancient and contemporary Japan"

Victoria Abbott Riccardi, author of Untangling my Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ctr. Biomembrane Physics (MEMPHYS), University of Southern Denmark, Odense M, Denmark

    Ole G. Mouritsen

About the author

Professor of biophysics, University of Southern Danemark, Director, MEMPHYS - Center for Biomembrane Physics, Adjunct professor, Helsinki University of Technology

Principal Areas of Research: Statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, computer simulation techniques, phase transitions and critical phenomena, biomembrane physics and chemistry, surface and interface physics, materials science, nano-science, drug delivery

Published more than 300 original research articles, reviews and scientific reports; the monographs: Computer Studies of Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena (Springer-Verlag, 1984); Life - as a Matter of Fat. The Emerging Science of Lipidomics (Springer Verlag, 2005); Sushi. Lidenskab, videnskab & sundhed (Jepsen & Co, Copenhagen, 2006); Co-edited four books on biophysics.

Awards: Gold Medal in Chemistry, Aarhus University, 1975; A/S De Danske Spritfabrikker's Centennial Award, 1981; Kirstine Meyer født Bjerrum's Mindelegat, 1984; Villum Kann Rasmussen's Research Prize, 1990; NKT Research Prize, 1998, for research achievements in soft condensed matter and biological physics; Hasselblad Foundation Research Award 1998; National Danish Research Communication Prize 2007; University of Southern Denmark Research Communication Prize 2007; Royal Society of Chemistry Bourke Award and Silver Medal 2008; European Lipid Science Award 2011.

Bibliographic Information

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