If you've never heard of it, natto is a fermented soybean dish that has been described as "stinky, slimy, and chunky."
Or, as my wife says, "It looks like poop and smells like poop. As for the taste—"
And she went silent.
That's Disgusting, a fascinating new book by Rachel Herz. She explains how fermentation is what happens when a food is broken down by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms. How do you get a food to ferment? The quick answer is just let it lay around. The bacteria will do the heavy lifting. (This is how both wine and cheese get made.)
There are millions of bacteria inside of you right now, and they're almost all helpful or neutral. There's only about fifty bacteria species that hurt humans, so it's perfectly okay to eat something like natto. The only bad things that could happen are:
- You might barf from eating something that's stinky, slimy, and chunky, AND...
- Your taste-buds might flee your mouth, since you're obviously too irresponsible to take care of them.