Sushi Diaries and a Sing Out: Finding Sushi and Remembering Seeger

A word from Hudson Valley Editor in Chief, Olivia J. Abel

When I was in college, I was the only one of my friends who did not eat sushi. Even after we graduated and most of us moved to New York City, I would often join them for dinner at a Japanese restaurant, where I’d eat some kind of teriyaki — and they’d all indulge in sushi. Getting their fix, they used to call it. Every single one of these friends used to insist that they craved sushi, but I dismissed that as pure nonsense. I claimed that people craved chocolate, bacon, cigarettes. But raw fish? I just wasn’t buying it.

Looking back, this is a bit of an anomaly for me. After all, I’m an avid traveler and an adventurous eater. But I had virtually no experience with Japanese food growing up. In fact, the only Asian food I ever consumed before heading off to college was at Tung Hoy Chinese Restaurant in Mamaroneck. I must admit that I am tickled to find that there is an entire Facebook page devoted to remembering this now-defunct eatery. It was a sprawling space, decorated in mod ’70s style (think the Brady Bunch house) — and absolutely everybody dined there. I may be mistaken, but I believe that we always ate the same exact thing: eggs rolls (big fat ones), wonton soup, and sweet and sour chicken.

I don’t actually remember when I gave in and started eating sushi. Although I like to eat it now, I can’t say that I crave it. (The only exception is my beloved spicy tuna roll from Bonsai Japanese Restaurant in Poughkeepsie; the girls there put in my order as soon as I walk in the door.) But at this point, I do enjoy lots of different Asian cuisines. My favorite, in recent years, has probably been Thai food, and I’m particularly partial to the delicious panang curry at Sukhothai in Beacon. But I was completely bowled over by my first experience with Korean food at Beacon’s Seoul Kitchen. I had the delicious bibimbap, but it was the personalized attention in this cozy space that sealed the deal for me.

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I can’t wait to venture out for another exciting Asian food experience.

Just days before we put this issue to bed came the sad news that Pete Seeger had passed away at age 94. While we did not have time to prepare a proper tribute to America’s best-loved folk singer, environmentalist, and longtime Hudson Valley resident (we will run a full article about Seeger’s enduring legacy in the April issue), we have, naturally, all been talking about this one-of-a-kind man. As a fellow Beacon resident, I would spot Seeger in various places about town — at formal events, at the Farmers’ Market, and sometimes just walking down Main Street.

As I write this, memories of and tributes to this American icon have continued to flood the Internet. There are many interesting stories out there. But what I like to hear most are tales of how Seeger continued to stay actively involved in so many different local activities, even though he was well into his 90s. Tery Udell is the director of the Rivertown Kids, a 17-member children’s choir that was envisioned and supported by Seeger. An elementary school teacher, Udell recalls how Seeger came to her classroom more than eight years ago because he heard she was using songs to study history with her fourth-graders. “He was always known to be wandering in and out of the schools in Beacon,” says Udell. “The kids were discovering so many songs by Seeger that dealt with the Hudson River and environmentalism. They were learning and remembering everything, and they were just delighted to be singing these songs. When they met Pete, they wanted him to teach them more songs.”

After Seeger’s death, Udell says that the children “know how lucky and blessed they were to have had Pete be such a fixture in their lives.” We’ll share many more stories of the Rivertown Kids and other Seeger remembrances in the April issue. Rest in peace, Pete.

Olivia J. Abel
Editor In Chief

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