I'm talking about natto. I wish I could tell you that I've tasted natto, but my experience with this food merely extends to looking at it, smelling it and picking it up with a pair of chopsticks. The natto never actually made it into my mouth, mostly due to the foul smell, but also because it looks like soy beans immersed in snot.
So WTF is natto, you ask? Natto is a fermented soybean product, enjoyed in Japan. In short, whole soybeans are cooked and then fermented with Bacillus subtilis (natto) until the beans are covered in that viscous, goo. When you lift the soybeans up with your eating utensil of choice, long, stretchy, mucoid tendrils maintain contact with the dish.* The viscous, sticky material is mainly composed of gamma-polyglutamic acid, a polymer composed of D- and L-glutamic acid. In less-scientific terms, the snotty mess is B. subtilis capsule. Yum.
I know I sound like a total puss for not actually tasting this, ahem, food. It's not like I was going to die from consuming the substance. Maybe just some intense gagging or projectile vomiting.
I've spent a lifetime overcoming food aversions. As a child I assumed that if it looked gross and it smelled gross, then it was gross. This hypothesis was tested in triplicate and as far as I was concerned, a scientific theory. The few times I did re-test the Theory of Looks Gross, Is Gross, it was boldly reinforced. I'm thinking specifically of the time I tried Vegemite during a trip to New Zealand. NEVER AGAIN!
It's only within the last four or five years that I've really ventured out in my food choices. I will typically try something at least once, and usually like it. I don't know what changed, but I am glad that it did, otherwise I would not know the goodness of sushi.
So....has anyone actually tried natto?
*I've been told that longer threads indicate better quality natto.