Natto Conference

Food for Thought

The First Annual American Natto Enthusiast Conference was a big success. Four people (including myself) attended! I served my homemade natto paired with three bottles of natural wine. The main dish was natto salad with tomato, avocado, garlic, and scallions, dressed in koji, olive oil, and black pepper, served with California short-grain white rice. It was the first time I had seen three white people eat natto right before my eyes. I have never seen a black person eat natto, so let me know if you know anyone.

My natto is fantastic. Since I started using natto starter spores (instead of store-bought natto as a starter), the flavor and sliminess doubled! It’s much better than commercial ones. Natto pairs well with wine because the aroma and flavor are robust, like cheese. We had orange wines, but it could stand up against red wine too.

Natto is by far the richest source of vitamin K. Just three ounces contain 700% of the Daily Value, so we are good for the week.

One of the attendees said Japanese is the only cuisine that embraces sliminess. I’m not sure if that’s true, but unfamiliarity with sliminess prevents most people from trying natto. The “openness” in the Big 5 personality traits can be tested by serving natto.

Unlike balut, a fertilized developing egg, what is new is the sensation, not the concept. But maybe that’s not entirely true. Sex can be pretty slimy, and everyone seems to love it. I won’t spell them out, but other body parts produce a natto-like substance, too; most people must already be familiar with the sensation. So the resistance may be conceptual.

It’s also possible that the sliminess is still perceived as disgusting during sex, and the idea of doing something nasty with someone excites people. If so, passing natto between their mouths might excite them. It could have worked between Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in 9½ Weeks.

For me, natto is exciting without sex. Even the pungent odor that many people dislike smells good to me. I’m not trying to promote it. In fact, sharing one’s passion with others is more rewarding when the group is small. If you don’t want to try it, that’s fine by me.