Fresh Wasabi Versus The Weary Adverb

This is an ode to sim­pli­city — in part a trib­ute to fresh was­abi, and in part a war against the adverb. One is pure, intense and noth­ing but its own glor­i­ous self. The other is flouncy, florid and dilutes everything it attaches itself to. The adverbs I’ve got it in for go like this: I’m truly, hon­estly sorry — as opposed to dis­hon­estly sorry? I’m act­ively engaged in this task — how else could you be? I’m excep­tion­ally busy — busy is busy, after all and to add the adverb is to boast.

In the spirit of sim­pli­city, pur­ity and all-round reduct­ive delight­ful­ness, fresh was­abi is the culin­ary anti­thesis of adverbial. I’ve just been sent a gnarled, green root of fresh was­abi from The Was­abi Com­pany, grown, bizar­rely, in my favour­ite county of Dor­set. Its looks are against it — it resembles the index fin­ger of an aged warlock’s hand. But peel it and grate it, and it’s a revelation.

Com­mer­cial was­abi mixed up from powder, or the little khaki green blobs of was­abi that come with pre-packed sushi, usu­ally con­tain only 5 to 10% actual was­abi. The dif­fer­ence in fla­vour that comes from the fresh root is remark­able — like a full orches­tra play­ing Bach, com­pared to My Old Man’s a Dust­man per­formed on a kazoo. The taste of freshly grated was­abi plays all over the tongue and has a del­ic­ate per­fume to it, as well as all the usual nose-twanging, mouth-tingling, throat-sizzling effects that you would expect.

For the nerdy amongst us, there’s the added appeal of the little tools that are needed to turn Gandalf’s digits into pale green deli­cious­ness. There’s the grind­ing, the brush­ing, the heap­ing into chartreuse-coloured mounds on a plate. I can think of few other ingredi­ents that are so simply and per­fectly them­selves. It needs no glit­ter, no tin­sel, and cer­tainly no adverbs to be just itself. And at this time of year, when glit­ter and adverbs are slosh­ing around all over the place, that pur­ity is some­thing to celebrate.