Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Day 365: The Meaning of Natto

As a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that our entries started to taper off at around day 30--or about 335 days ago. Looking back, we didn't really do a good job of documenting how or why this happened, but the answer is simple: eating natto became ordinary and sometimes enjoyable. We set out to acquire a strange and foreign taste, and it took about thirty days.

Somewhere around day 28-30, eating natto no longer became a chore or something to dread. There were moments when I looked forward to eating it, but mostly it simply blended into the large category of "foods-I-like-but-don't-love-and-don't-bother-to-eat-very-often." Given that it's somewhat hard to procure (even though this is Manhattan there are still only a handful of places to buy natto, and none of them are near work or home), eating natto on a daily basis no longer seemed necessary. I had satisfied the goal of the project: I had acquired the taste.

In the last 335 days I have had natto a handful of times both at home and in restaurants. On those occasions I had a genuine desire to eat natto, and was glad to find that I still liked it. Nonetheless, when Valerie and I decided to commemorate the one year anniversary of The Natto Project's inception by eating natto together again, I approached the moment with trepidation; would my natto-nerves fail me at the critical moment, causing me to gag on the neba neba after so much hard work? It seemed unlikely, but nonetheless we took precautions and ate our natto like civilized people. We started by choosing one of our favorite brands, the "happy-natto-woman" natto. We prepared the natto in a simple fashion: with plain soy sauce and topped with scallions and seaweed flakes.

Valerie took it from there, rounding out the meal with plain sushi rice and salmon and tuna sashimi. It was yummy. I will eat natto again.