Foodosophy of Natto

Natto, is not as scary as most people tend to think.  It unfortunately gets a lot of bad press because of its unique (sticky & slimy) texture which coats the beans.  In an episode of “A Cook’s Tour”, Anthony Bourdain narrates:

“This (natto) is a really frightening texture, I mean it’s mucelogenous.  This is like eating out of a spit cup at the dentist.”

Maybe I am immune to these factors, as I was exposed to natto at a very young age.  Regardless, count me as one of those who love it.  Seriously, love it!

It is fairly easy to make natto at home (although it takes a couple days), but it is now readily available in the freezer section of most asian supermarkets.  Usually sold in 3-packs of either styrofoam (left), or plastic cups (right).  I find that these freezer packs represent the major characteristics of natto, but obviously prefer the freshly-fermented version as it tends to keep more of the nutty flavours from the soybean.


Once thawed, a quick stir will let you know that it is good to go.  I apologize for the second television quote, but according to the original Iron Chef – Battle Natto:

“Stir it up 15 times.  This means if you wisk the fermented beans some 15 times, little threads will form around them, and these enhance the flavour it’s said. But, if you stir more than 15 times the threads turn into little bubbles, and that spoils the delicate taste”.

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“Unlimited appetite”

I came across an article today by Michael Lewis that appeared in The New Republic, which reviews a new book about the billionaire Warren Buffett, penned by his official biographer Alice Schroeder. All the stuffy business and finance stuff aside which Buffett is best known for, the book also delves into the mind behind the man if you will, including a food-related story which describes the man’s diet.

“He confines himself to the diet of an eight-year-old, refusing to eat anything much beyond spaghetti, hamburgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Schroeder describes a bizarre scene in which Katharine Graham escorted Buffett to dinner at the Manhattan apartment of Sony Chairman Akio Morita. Japanese chefs served plate after plate that Buffett left completely untouched. “By the end of fifteen courses, he still had not eaten a bite,” writes Schroeder. “The Moritas could not have been more polite, which added to his humiliation. He was desperate to escape back to Kay’s apartment, where popcorn and peanuts and strawberry ice cream awaited him. ‘It was the worst,’ he says about the meal he did not eat. ‘I’ve had others like it but it was by far the worst. I will never eat Japanese food again.'” Buffett ate what he needed to eat to remain alive–and learned what he needed to learn to invest shrewdly.”

Now I know many well-off people who are thoroughly taking advantage of their personal circumstances, who also hold a high degree of respect for great food, and for them, dining out and traveling great distances to taste new things is a passion. I also know of many who are of more limited means (yours truly among them), who do try to seek out the same kind of stimulation, albeit perhaps in a more second-hand or lower tier kind of way. And lastly, I know of those who seem to really detest having to eat or have no interest in trying things they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with, and this spans both rich and non-rich people. To this day, whenever I meet someone new, who despite appearances (e.g. tall, big body structures who would seem at first glance, not the type to shy away from a plate of seconds anywhere) who have very limited diets, it shocks me.

I do realize that food and enjoying eating is not everyone’s cup of tea or a source of enjoyment in their life. For some reason though, I pity them. As a human being, with the taking in of valuable nutrients to keep us alive a necessity, why not make the mundane exciting and new, by challenging one’s self to explore all this great world that is full of countless cultures has to offer through their cuisine.

If you had endless means to satisfy your passion for food, dining and travel… would you too limit yourself to a diet you knew only as a child? Or would you go to the ends of the earth to take in something totally new? Better yet, tell me what you would do and eat, and where? (SMILE)