My mom grew up in Kona eating natto sandwiches.
Yes, natto between two slices of white bread.
And that’s why, to this day, she refuses to eat the slimy, smelly fermented soybeans.
I never had contact with the stuff growing up. My mom won’t even let it in the house.
Of course, I was curious about this legendary dish, one that made people cringe by the mere mention. They complained about its smell, its texture, the way it resemble snot.
But there were others who raved about it, pointing to its high protein content, its health and nutritional benefits.
The smell didn’t bother me. The texture, though, did. But I think I had built it up so much in my mind, thinking it would be either intensely disgusting or immensely delicious, that when it was neither, I didn’t see what the fuss was about. Either way.
I know this is gonna sound strange but I was almost disappointed. I wanted to love it or hate it the way everyone seemed to feel. I wanted to have the same kind of disgusted reaction I had when I first bit into a durian. (Oh, that was bad.) Or I wanted to fall in total and oblivious love with it. Something other than… indifference. Sad.
Would I eat natto again? Yes. Would I buy it from Don Quijote and stock my fridge with it? No.
How about you? Love or hate natto? Or are you indifferent like me?