Brand: Mini Stop and Aeon
Cost: 132 yen
Found at: Ministop
I am 100% on board with using unusual flours to make everyday food. I’m not a food scientist, but I think that one of the keys to ecological sustainability and better community health will be to switch from traditional staples – corn, wheat, rice, etc. – to more nutritious and less resource-consuming options such as legumes and beans. However, with any major shift in consumption, there will inevitably be some trial and error.
In the case of Japanese Mustard Spinach Protein Cookies, there seems to be more error than trial. Using the term “cookie” to describe these hard, dry, greenish-brown discs is stretching the definition of “cookie” to its absolute limit. There is nothing appealing about them. They smell like mothballs and look like unhealthy barnacles. I would not be surprised to see one stuck under a chair leg to protect the varnish on a wooden floor. If you overcome the appearance and actually take a bite, they are extremely dry and mealy and scatter crumbs everywhere. And they taste like soybeans and Japanese mustard spinach have been stir-fried in sugar. There is an overpowering sweetness that does not blend well with the mustardy bitter aftertaste. The flavor keeps oscillating between vegetable and cookie, without ever settling into anything you can even begin to enjoy.
Which is too bad, because if these cookies had been edible, they could have been a wonderful substitute for regular cookies in my life. The packaging proudly advertises how soy flour and mustard spinach flour have been blended and baked to give the mouthfeel of a cookie and while this is true, the flavor is still that of mustard spinach and soy. With 3.7 grams of protein and 3.2 grams of fiber, this would have been a fantastic snack option (especially for those on restrictive diets who have been missing out on the cookie experience) but no amount of healthiness can convince me that these are worth the trouble of eating. In a savory form, this experiment might have worked, but as a cookie? You are better off just having a salad.
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