Cooking with Kids: Slimy, Tasty Reporting in the 'Wall Street Journal'


Photograph by jasja dekker on Flickr

Did you know the Wall Street Journal has great food coverage? I didn’t, until I started obsessively following the banking crisis. After a while I got bored with Bernanke and Paulson (amazing, I know) and found that the Journal is particularly strong when it comes to food and restaurants in Asia, presumably because they cover the Asian markets and reporters get hungry.

That’s how I came across this delightful story, Where the Slimy Things Are. The writer, Stephen Yoder, wrote for the Journal from Japan in the ’90s, and when his assignment ended, he told his 8- and 10-year-old sons they could choose a restaurant for their farewell dinner from any of their Tokyo favorites.

So our last stop in town before heading toward Narita Airport was a cramped restaurant in a hallway off a subway station that, by family consensus, served the world’s best maguro-natto.

Sushi fans will recognize the *maguro* as tuna. To appreciate this dish, it is necessary to understand the *natto.* Charitably put, natto is fermented soybeans that have a sort of nutty flavor—as well as a suspicious brown color, the stringiness of airplane glue and the musky odor of lightly rotted vegetable matter.

However you feel about natto, I’ll bet you’re going to love the rest of this story, which never mentions really gross things like credit default swaps.