Sushi Making 101

The other day a good pal of mine got his judgey voice on and implied that I spend too much money on sushi.  Maybe it was out of genuine concern for my finances, or maybe it was just because he wanted to rile me up – no one will ever know.

He does have a point though.  Someone with a financial situation like mine shouldn’t be spending on money on going out to lunch at all, whether it is sushi or not.    But, as anyone who has attempted to make their own sushi will testify, making my own sushi is not a valid alternative.


Because it’s f***ing impossible.

I have tried it before, many years ago.  Not only was it hard work and extremely messy, but the store-bought seasonings that were available to me at the time were both grotty AND gave me pretty severe headaches.  Nevertheless, I was willing to have another go at it for a few reasons.  At best I might discover that I have somehow become a sushi-making genius.  At worst I will at least be able to demonstrate how DARN DIFFICULT the process is – which was my main argument at the time.  For the amount of work that goes into producing one little piece of sushi, they are actually incredibly reasonably priced.

So I decided to make a quick wee video out of my Sushi-making journey.

Check it out if you want to…

Obviously, before I made the video I had to acquire a few things.  Obviously, this meant that there was some form of financial outlay to begin with.

I have divided my financial outlay into two categories:

1 – Start Up Costs – these are things that will either not need to be repurchased once I own them (such as the Bamboo rolling mat), or will need to be repurchased relatively infrequently (such as soy sauce, which tends to last ages).

2 – Consumables – these are things that I will have to repurchase every time that I wish to make sushi, such as the seaweed and the filling.

Start Up Costs
Bamboo Rolling Mat – $3.59
Sushi Rice Vinegar – $6.69
Soy Sauce – $3.89

board-1295877_960_720Total – $14.17

Teriyaki Sauce – $4.69
Rice – $3.89
Chicken Breast – $8.60
Seaweed/Nori – $3.39
Capsicums – $4.00
Total – $22.57

Total Costs – $36.74

Now $36.74 is going to buy a veritable sushi feast, just saying.

But even $22.57 is around $6.57 more that I would usually spend on the average lunch.

One could argue that perhaps if One used less chicken breast, less rice, and less seaweed, then the price would certainly decrease.  The yield would also decrease – meaning that One isn’t forced to eat leftover sushi for all subsequent lunches as it slowly perishes in the refrigerator to a point at which it is inedible and must be thrown out.  In other words, if I made less sushi then I would waste less sushi.  But anyone who has ever gone to all the trouble of making sushi knows that you don’t go to all the effort of creating sushi from nothing, just to make a “little bit of sushi”.  It simply isn’t worth all the effort to cook and assemble.  And it certainly isn’t worth all the effort it takes to clean up after the whole venture.

And I haven’t even bothered to point out the fact that all you get out of this ordeal is ONE TYPE of sushi.  If you buy sushi then you can enjoy an assortment of all sizes, shapes, and flavours of sushi!

On this occasion it took me 3 hours, from start to finish, to make sushi.  By the time you’ve cooked the rice and let it cool, actually made the sushi (I made a meagre 4 rolls), and then cleaned up after yourself, it is one heck of an ordeal.

So when you take into account the labour costs of making your own sushi, then it simply is no longer worth it. 

If I assume that my time is worth AT LEAST $15.25 per hour (which just happens to be the minimum wage here in New Zealand), then 3 hours of sushi making has cost me a minimum of $45.75.

Which takes the costs of DIY sushi into the realm of the outrageous.

The cost of the ingredients ($36.74) and the labour costs ($45.75) brings my sushi making venture to a ridiculous total of $82.49 New Zealand Dollars.

And the sushi that I got at the end of it?

Virtually inedible.

If I worked hard to improve my skills, I may be able to drag my sushi-making abilities up to a solid mediocre. 

But when there are sushi-makers making tasty sushi at a fraction of the cost, why would I bother?

And the moral of this story is this:

Don’t make your own sushi.  Just… don’t even bother.


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