Friday, April 14, 2006

Day 6: For Better or Worse

I ate the whole box this morning. I did it quickly and purposefully. This in no way suggests that I've come to find it more palatable (I was gagging by the last few bites -- I now think this is the result of slime buildup in the back of the throat), but merely reflects my belief that this is one of the first psychological barriers I needed to break through in order to achieve natto nirvana. I'd like to be able to parse the taste and understand its component flavors so I can begin acquiring it, but it was starting to seem like I wouldn't be able to do this without eating more than 2-3 mouthfuls at a time.

A major difficulty (I believe) for me in acquiring this taste will be that I'm really bad at parsing taste in the first place -- I'm not one of those people who can tell you what spices are in a dish by tasting it; I'm very bad at describing the taste of wine even though I like wine quite a bit, and so on. So without some serious examination (i.e. many mouthfuls), I'm not going to be able to tell you what this stuff tastes like. Now, I'm making a big assumption here that describing the taste is essential to acquiring the taste. This is because I have a feeling that the acquisition of a taste has something to do with creating relationships between the new taste and tastes you already know. If that's true, then "parsing" the taste -- either at a conscious or unconscious level -- should help in the acquiring of it. And if that's the case, then because this is a very intentional attempt to acquire a taste, I think it would be interesting to explicitly map the relationships between natto-taste and other tastes if possible.

Now: I have to admit that forcing myself to eat the whole box ultimately may be counterproductive. Like that apocryphal story you always hear about the kid who gets caught smoking and so his dad puts him the closet with a pack of Lucky Strikes no-filters and makes him smoke the whole thing so that he'll never look at a cigarette again without retching. I did that with Cool Ranch Doritos once (not that I have any desire to eat Cool Ranch Doritos now, but if I did it would be impossible).

Hopefully forcing down the whole box of natto won't make me hate it more than I already do.


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