The mysterious sushi roll at Miyagi Restaurant contains spicy tuna, white tuna, snow crab, avocado, cucumber, green onion, garlic and spicy aioli.

Cooking in the Cave: Local sushi roll’s origin remains cloaked in mystery

Connor BioNo food has caused me more angst and frustration than the sushi roll.

I speak specifically of the “Country Day” roll served at Miyagi Sushi in Lyon’s Village, which has caused me weeks of stress.

I went to Miyagi three weeks ago and ordered the Country Day roll, which contains spicy tuna, white tuna, snow crab, avocado, cucumber, green onion, garlic and spicy aioli.

However, I made the mistake of asking myself, “Why is this roll named after my school?” And so my troubles began.

My adviser, Patricia Fels, noted that it would be a good idea to answer that question in an online featurette. It seemed simple enough (emphasis on the “seemed”).

Senior Garrett Kaighn chimed in, saying that the Jackmans (formerly a Country Day family) were patrons of Miyagi and that they might have inspired the naming of the roll.

This made sense, as there was also a roll named “Kelsey,” which we presumed was named after daughter Kelsey Jackman.

In fact, several people were under that same impression, such as Yanni Dahmani, ‘13, who claimed that there also used to be a “Katrina” roll, named after mother Katrina Jackman.

“So you’ll have this story in by tomorrow, Connor?” Fels asked me.

I agreed. But then my problems began.

The phone number I was given to call the Jackmans didn’t work. When I called, it rang incessantly, and never went to voicemail, so I couldn’t leave a message (or even be sure that I was, in fact, calling the Jackmans).

So I resorted to email.

While I waited for a response, Fels grew impatient. I woke up one morning to a heartfelt email from Fels, telling me that freshman staffers had more initiative than I did and that I needed to turn in my story as soon as possible.

I knew I had to push on.

After several days, I got my response.

But, alas, the Jackmans had nothing to do with the naming of either the Country Day roll or the Kelsey roll, according to son Cooper Jackman.

So it was back to square one. I called Miyagi to ask them about the Country Day roll. The employee I spoke to thought the roll might be named after Country Day simply because of its proximity to Miyagi.

I thought I finally had my answer. But then the employee threw in a side note that brought me back to square one again.

“It’s possible that the owner’s children went to Country Day,” he said. “But I’m not sure.”

He told me to call back sometime when the manager was in to verify.

And so I called back the next night. And the next. And the next. And so on.

Each time, I spoke with a new person. I was told to call back at specific times when the owner would be in the restaurant. But when I called, I was told that the manager was not in, and that they had no way of knowing when he would be in next. I left a message for him each time I called asking him to call me back.

It soon became clear that this sushi roll was the culinary equivalent of the Watergate scandal. No one would speak of it, let alone reveal any information.

sushiMeanwhile, Fels grew restless. I began sending her email updates to prove that I was continuing to pursue the story, afraid of another email expressing her discontent.

Next she approached me at school, twiddling a yellow pen in her hand, while she sardonically demonstrated how to properly call a source and elicit an answer, as if I were unsure how to do it myself.

I walked away feeling shamed, but kept calling Miyagi nightly, to no avail.

The next day, Daniel Neukom, husband of Fels, took one look at me and projected in his theatrical voice, “What’s goin’ on, Connor? Why aren’t you getting your work done? You’re letting the younger staffers upstage you!”

I was mortified. Fels’s discontent was spreading. I knew I had to put an end to this story once and for all.

So I decided to go eat some more sushi. That day, after school, I went to Miyagi and ordered another Country Day roll.

When the waiter arrived at the table, I let my questions fly.

He sent a text to the owner and asked the senior employees my questions. No one knew, and the owner had not replied by the time I left.

The waiter told me to email the owner through the Miyagi website, because that “would be the quickest way to contact him.”

I have yet to receive a response.

So after three weeks I can be sure only that A) there was never a Katrina roll, and B) the Kelsey roll was not named after Kelsey Jackman, but rather the owner’s wife, at least according to a waiter.

But why was the Country Day roll named after the school? The world may never know.


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