Taste Test: Natto
While Okinawans take in over 80 percent of their soy in a relatively unprocessed form as tofu, edamame, soy flour, soy milk, or miso, people in the United States eat a similiar percentage of their soy in a processed form. Our soy foods are heated, mashed, and denatured to create a vast array of substances ranging from Tofurky to fillers for tuna fish to ice-cream sandwiches... while whole foods offer valuable protection, concentrated or denatured derivatives of these foods are having the opposite effect.The bottom line, at least for now, seems to be that good soy prevent cancer and bad soy might promote cancer. Good soy = tofu, soy sauce, miso, natto, edamame. Bad soy = soy protein powder, energy bars made with soy, fake hot dogs, tofurky. A lot of Western people think natto — fermented soy bean — is gross because of it's gooey texture and stinky smell, but it's one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast. It's filled with protein and great for a post-workout snack, too. If you're still iffy about it, why not combine the foreign with the familiar and cook some natto spaghetti? The slippery texture of the pasta cuts the gooeyness a little, and in my opinion this is a gentle way to ease natto into your culinary life. Every installment of Taste Test will explore recipes, the science, and some history behind a specific food item.
Images via Jasja Dekker's Flickr and Gaku's Flickr
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