One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Monday, March 27, 2006

Traditional Japanese Cuisine

On Saturday, some friends from church took our student, Ryo, out to the farmers' market and the Asian market to procure some ingredients for a couple of Japanese dishes they wanted to prepare for us for dinner. Annie was apprehensive - she isn't the most ... adventurous eater.

The first dish they cooked was okonomiaki. It is pancake-shaped food, made of flour, eggs, cabbage, green onions, sliced pork, fish flakes, and okonomi sauce. It was wonderful. It wasn't until after dinner, though, that we found out that okonomiaki flour consist of not only wheat and every other grain, but also ground up remains of multiple fishes and other delectable - not for use in your average bread recipe.

The other entree wasn't a hit - in fact, none of the women folk would try it. Once I heard that the dish, known as natto, was a 'traditional' Japanese food, I knew it was going to be scary. It starts off with some white rice and green onions - not bad at all. But then Ryo added in some raw egg. The final ingredient was fermented/rotten beans that literally smelled like week-old gym socks.

Now, I have always made it a point always to try any food placed in front of me. I took a big spoonful and ate it without complaint. I then spent the next ten minutes trying to convince myself that I hadn't eaten Shaquille O'Neal's socks.

It turned out to be a good dinner, and we were very thankful that they went to all of the effort of making us dinner. But why does every 'traditional' cultural food have to be disgusting?


bad_sector said...

Hi there,

I've never tried natto, and first found out about it having stumbled across this photo :

I'm not sure I'd have the guts to try it! I read that it's very good for you though (o_O)


Raging Wombat said...

Thanks for the photo. The plate I ate from was decidedly less fancy. I wouldn't be surprised if it is good for you - it just wasn't agreeable with my tongue.