Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Don't let sushi chefs have all the fun. Turn the spreading, layering, tucking, and rolling into a party at home. There's no wrong way to make sushi: Depending on their dexterity and ambition, your guests can make traditional maki (rolls), assemble more free-form cones, or eat chirashi ("scattered-style" sushi) by piling the rice on their plates and topping it with the seafood and vegetable fillings.
Here's an easy plan for a do-it-yourself sushi party for six people. Your part is to cook the rice, prepare the fillings, set up a rolling station, and make the salad (steps 1 through 4). Your guests' job is to roll and wrap away, an activity that gets more entertaining in proportion to the amount of sake they consume in the process.
Round out the menu with items you can buy at an Asian market, like frozen gyoza (potstickers), edamame (soybeans) in their pods, miso soup from a mix, wasabi-flavored rice crackers, and some mochi ice cream balls for dessert.
Nori (seaweed wraps), wasabi, and pickled ginger are available in well-stocked supermarkets and in Asian grocery stores. Traditional bamboo sushi mats make rolling easy, but sheets of plastic wrap work surprisingly well. The mats, chopsticks, and rice paddles are available at Japanese markets, other import stores, and through www.cooking.com, www.mrslinskitchen.com, and www.pacificrim-gourmet.com.