Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 363

Natto: Just when I thought I couldn't find anything more disgusting than yesterday's entry, along came this equally repulsive new food I found during my last visit to the Buford Highway Farmers Market. I'd heard about natto before, specifically in one of Anthony Bourdain's books. It's a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans, and based on his description, it sounded pretty awful. However, I'll try anything once, so when I saw this packaged version in the BHFM, I gave it a shot. It was only a bit over a dollar, so if it was truly bad, at least I didn't have much invested.
I decided in advance to try the natto today, so I took it out of the freezer last night and put it in the fridge to thaw. Once I opened the styrofoam package this afternoon, I was surprised by what I saw. In addition to the soybeans, the package also included 2 packets of what appeared to be mustard and soy sauce for mixing. When I tried to remove them, tendrils of what looked just like spider webs extended from the soybeans to the plastic. Wow. Not a good sign.
Once I opened the packets and started mixing the contents with the soybeans, the whole concoction took on a viscous, snot-like consistency. I'd never seen anything more unappetizing in my life. When I dug in with my fork, the trails of mucus followed all the way up to where the fork stopped. Oh, and did I mention the smell? Kind of like sweet soy sauce that had been left to go bad out in the hot sun. I knew this was a fermented dish, but that wasn't helping me much here.
Despite how bad the whole thing looked and smelled, I had to try it, so I held my breath and lifted a tiny bite to my mouth. Much like yesterday's food, the overpoweringly bad smell made it hard to even focus on the flavor, but what I did taste was a salty/sweet mix of the soybeans and hot mustard, followed by that putrid rotting soy smell. I can't really say much else - I spit it in the sink and gagged, then guzzled a huge glass of water. It's hard to comprehend how anyone, anywhere could tolerate this dish.

Yesterday and today have been the 2 worst things I've ever eaten in my life. EVER. I'm so glad this blog is almost over.

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