This week I set out to answer two more of my inquiry questions. Using my curated research and field investigations, here's what I found out.
5. Will I save money versus going out?
In the process of finding a source for my fish that I could trust, I also jotted down prices of the fish, nori (seaweed), and other supplies I'd need to make the sushi. I successfully found an Asian market that is busy, ensuring a high turnover of fish. The place's name is Mitsuwa, which is only a few miles from my house. The price the "sushi grade" fish was certainly higher than the normal price for fish. The cost of nori was cheap (about ten cents per sheet), and the other miscellaneous things (e.g., pickled ginger, bonito flakes, soy sauce) was not remarkably expensive either. The cost of sushi rice was about triple standard rice prices, but still it would cost less than $2 for the rice needed for a large batch of sushi. Overall, I decided that the kind of fish i bought would be the biggest factor in the cost of my sushi. Standard accouterments -- rice, nori, cucumbers, avocado, etc -- will cost about 60 cents per roll. The fish used per roll will be about 2 ounces. If the fish is $20/lb (what I saw at the market), then each roll will need $2.50 worth of fish, and each roll will be $3.10 total. $3.10 is a savings of 75% or so compared to restaurant prices.
6. Will my sushi taste better than at least the cheap sushi places?
TBD! I will get to this one after I make the sushi, which will culminate the 20% project.
7. What risk of food-borne illness do I run by eating sushi and making it myself?
It seems like the risks are very low. Hard data are hard to come by, but it seems like the only women that "shouldn't" eat sushi, are pregnant women (due to the mercury) and old people with compromised immune systems, who would have difficulty fighting a disease. In other words, there is very little risk of getting sick. In my research, I also found that there is no such thing as "sushi grade" fish. It's a marketing term, rather, used to sell fish to germ weary customers. It's not a term regulated by the USDA. The issue comes down to freshness, really (for taste and safety).