There is a cartoon in my local paper that I glance at a few times a week. I’m not sure why I bother because it’s not funny and can be rather condescending but I guess that’s a topic for me and my therapist, Large Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza. Anyway, the other day they mentioned a food called “natto”. The cartoon alluded to the fact that natto was pungent in smell and an “acquired taste” even for the most ardent lover of food. I had never heard of it so I Googled it. It’s Japanese and is one of those foods that I would have loved to been there when the inventor came up with his brilliant idea.
Scene: inside Shinjo’s Saki Palace and Tofu Emporium,
The breakfast rush of one customer.
Cook: So, how are you enjoying the soybeans?
Customer: Meh. Plain beans just aren’t doing it for me anymore. They’re not bad, but something’s missing.
Cook: Like what? More seasoning? Sprinkle on some ginger or spread a little wasabi.
Customer: No, they’re not going to help.
Cook: A sauce perhaps.
Customer: No. Think differently. Something wild.
Cook: Fish oil?
Customer: Bleh, no.
Cook: A whale blubber reduction?
Customer: Interesting . . . but . . . no.
Cook: What then?
Customer: I’m thinking bacteria. Yeah, what these beans need is to be fermented in bacteria.
Cook: Hmm. What kind of bacteria?
Customer: Give me your hand towel.
The cook hands the dirty, wet towel to the customer who proceeds to bite down on one end of it and suck on the moisture. He swallows, retches and vomits.
Customer: That’s not it.
The customer then gets on his knees and licks the floor.
Customer: Oh crap. Doesn’t anyone ever wear shoes when they come in here? My tongue tastes like a foot now.
Cook: I didn’t tell you to lick the floor.
The customer walks outside and shoves a handful of dirt into his mouth. He swishes it around, chews a few times and swallows.
Customer: Oh yeah, this is it. This is what would make those beans sing. Bacteria straight from the bug-infested, radiated, sewage-soaked ground.
Cook: And what do you think the bacteria will do for the beans?
Customer: What will it do? It will cover them in sticky goo. They will be repulsive to look at, smell and eat!
Cook: I‘ve been looking for a signature dish to pull people in.
Customer: Oh no. This will drive people miles away. But you’ll be famous!
Cook: I’ll do it!