So I sidled over to the table and popped an edamame between my teeth, then started scraping … and scraping … and scraping. But no beans were coming out. It was just weird and wet and wrinkled – this edamame was abominable. That’s when I realised there were actually two bowls of edamame on the table. A bowl of fresh, juicy green ones for eating, and a bowl of gnawed beanless discarded ones that people had spat out. So I spat out my already-spat-out edamame, quickly rinsed out my mouth by gargling some Jägermeister, and didn’t touch one again for another 10 years.
My third edamame eating experience was just two weeks ago. It was at a friend’s wedding and a waiter was passing them around on a platter. I thought to myself, OK Danny, a third decade has passed, you knew this moment would come, you’ve rehearsed it a million times in your head – TIME TO CONFRONT YOUR JAPANESE SNACK DEMONS.
So I lurked near the waiter and watched others eat edamame, noting which bowl they used for pick-ups, which for spit-outs. OK, got it.
Heart pounding, breath quickening, I approached the waiter and plunged my trembling hand into the correct bowl. He looked impressed – I was off to a good start. Yanking out an edamame, I popped it between my teeth and scraped … and scraped … and ohhhhhhhh … three soft, salty scrumptious soybeans fell into my mouth – manna from the heavens above.
Immediately I grabbed another one: popped, scraped, ohhhhhhh. Another one: OHHHHHH, EVEN BETTER. The waiter wanted to move on, but no, I needed more – GIMME DEM EDAMAME!
Edamame juice ran down my chin, edamame goo gummed up my teeth, edamame pods piled on his platter.
Eventually the waiter ran off and hid behind the bride’s sister, but I found him and finished off the entire bowl.
Once you’ve popped, you can never be stopped. Thirty years of fear and humiliation and denial, and I finally understood it. That incredible, undeniable edamame umami edibility.
Danny Katz is a regular columnist.