Having lived with my Japanese wife for 15+ years has influenced eating habits a lot despite not living in Japan.
Years ago, I found the idea of eating nattō (納豆), that is Japanese fermented soybeans, abhorrent. They smelled like sweaty feet, had a sticky, stringy texture and smelled awful if too warm. At some point I took a liking to them and eat them almost every morning I’ve rice, usually with a bit of kimchi and coffee.
I also discovered recently that they taste really good with shiso (perilla) leaves too. As with nattō, I didn’t like shiso leaves either due to their strong mint-like flavor but with nattō they are surprisingly good.
Shiso leaves are also easy to grow here in the Pacific Northwest climate so we have a herb garden where they heartily produce leaves every week or so. The leaves above are a gift from my friend’s garden however, and we’re terrific.
As someone who grew up on 80’s breakfast cereals, including this one, I never imagined myself eating fermented beans over rice with perilla leaves, but it’s amazing how easily a person can change with the right experiences. 😄
P.S. gifts from the garden are a wonderful thing to share with others, by the way.