Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wheat and Rye Experiments

As a gift for my teacher who didn't know the difference between/anything about Rye or Wheat bread, my mom sent me a surprise package with a loaf of wheat and rye bread.

I delivered this to his desk and he smiled wide and said "Thank you!" moments later he appeared at my desk "Do you think you could come to my class and share this bread with the students??" "HECK YEAH!" I loved getting food in class when I was in school so I assumed they'd be no different.

So we brought the bread to 1st period class and first I talked about how big the average loaf size is compared to Japanese bread. I pulled out the bags and they grew excited. We gave a piece of bread to split between 4 students.

First I gave them the wheat. The general concensus was "This is very good, it tastes so American." Many of the students had studied abroad in America for 10 days and likely had wheat bread then. Then I took out the rye bread. Actually, I had two kinds of rye. First I gave them a pepridge farm rye. I had tasted it that morning and the flavor was a little weaker than the second rye. They kind of cringed, many said it tasted like cheese.

Then the last rye, this was clearly a more expensive rye and it was much stronger and, in my opinion, it was SUPER delicious.

Students gasped as they took their small nibbles of this bread. I don't think I could overstate the amount of disgust they felt as they attemtped to politely swallow it. "How is it??" I said. First there was silence... then they all started laughing. One student raised he hand, he looked like he was going to be sick. "Can I go drink some water? PLEASE???" The teacher said "OK." and with that, about half of the class got up and ran out into the hallway to drink water and throw their small pile of remaining bread away.

I asked them which they liked the best. Of course they all liked the wheat the best. I asked which was the worst, the last rye. They asked me and I said that actually the last rye was my favorite. "WHY!?!?!?!" asked one student. I think it made him feel sicker that I liked that one the best. "Because! It's DELICIOUS!" of course eating a piece of rye bread on it's own is a bit intense, especially for the first time.

There's a food here calle "Nattou." It's fermented soybeans. They're brown and they are insanely sticky, When you put some in your mouth, there will surely be little strings of this gooey sticky goo from the bowl to your mouth. Nattou is the test for American who come to Japan. Pretty much no one likes it...except for the Japanese, they LOVE it. Apparently it's insanely healthy. When Japanese people ask me if there's any foods I don't like or don't eat when we are selecting a meal, first they always go "Raw fish ...ok?" I say "Of course, anything is fine." Then they go, "Nattou???" and let me get this straight, I don't like nattou, but I don't hate it. The taste isn't so great but its tolerable, the goo-factor is the hardest part. So I go "Nattou is ok." They applaud. "WOW, so RARE!"

I've always wondered what the western version of nattou is. Now I know, it's rye bread.

1 comment:

Mary Ann said...

So glad the breads were used with the class. Now I guess the teacher believes there is a difference between wheat and rye. Next time, rye with mustard and pastrami. The ultimate Jewish American food.