This is Nattō.
It’s a Japanese dish made of fermented soybeans. It has a distinct smell and a very…unique…texture. It’s a nutrient-dense food that’s also full of probiotics. It’s an acquired taste, even for the Japanese (nearly a third of the country detests this stuff). It’s all I want to eat these days.
A lot of us are stress/boredom-eating lately, and that’s totally understandable. Food can be a comfort, or a distraction, or a pleasure, and we definitely need all three. But we all turn to different comfort foods, and it’s been fascinating to see this play out among my friends and family.
Some turn to the classics, like mac and cheese, or chocolate. One has been eating toast with peanut butter daily. One has been baking and eating banana bread constantly. My husband is partial to Cheez-Its.
The fact that I want a sticky, smelly, fermented clump on top of rice makes me a bit of an outlier, but it makes all the sense in the world when you factor in that my mother fed me a lot of it as an infant. And now it reminds me of simpler times, and gives me a feeling of warm familiarity and security.
We could all use a little security these days, and if we can find a little of it in the food we eat, we should celebrate it. What foods have you found yourself turning to?
My task: speaking of nattō, we just ran out (my husband, who is decidedly not Japanese, actually loves it almost as much as I do, very unusual!) and I need to stock up with a run to the Japanese grocery store (done!)