Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 204: Three Out of Four Ain't Bad

So on Day 197 I said I'd give vegetarianism a try for one week, and by Day 204, I had succeeded.
But since I spent $186 to become a temporary vegetarian, I still had quite a bit of food left over that needed to be eaten. So maybe, I thought, I'd try to be a vegetarian for two weeks. Just because I love a challenge, so bring it on. I can do it.

What better way to celebrate not eating meat than by eating the holiest of holy foods for vegetarians, tofu? Only having ordered tofu and eating it several times, there was no way to make it the thing that I’ve never done before.

Day 204’s thing I’ve never done before was to cook it. Cook tofu.

Tofu seems to garner the same reaction as peeps did on Day 193. People fall into two very distinct categories. They either hate tofu with every fiber of their being, or they tolerate it.

The tofu audience isn’t so split, however, and there are quite a few more members of “Team Hate Tofu” than are in “Team Tofu is Alright.”

There is no” Team Love Tofu” because it is my belief that no one actually loves tofu, regardless of what they say. I’ve heard vegetarians who are so committed to their lifestyle they cannot accept reality tell me that they love tofu. But I have then, and will now, call bullshit on that. I know it's impossible to love the taste of tofu, because I've tasted it many times. There is very little to love about a wet, soggy, tasteless square of soybean curd except, of course, whatever curry, sauce, hummus, goat cheese concoction that has been prepared to mask the taste, or non-taste, of the tofu.

I love tofu curry = I love curry

I love this tofu goat cheese veggie wrap = I love this goat cheese veggie wrap

Pad Thai with Tofu is my favorite! = Pad Thai is my favorite!

You can love that tofu gives you the protein that you need, you can love that it makes you feel healthy and socially superior to carnivores, but if you, or anyone, tells me that you love the taste, I will tell you that you are a liar. And if you persist, I will tell you to come over to my house and eat an entire block of it without anything on it. And if you finish the entire thing and are still smiling, I will pat you on the back, congratulate you on proving me wrong, and then kick you out my house for being lame and weird.

And then my friend Julie, who almost lost her own challenge with snow peas because of tofu, will kick your ass.

Tofu merely takes on the taste of everything else around it, which is a good thing. It’s like the quiet wallflower in a party full of loud, drunk people.

Cooking with tofu is a challenge I decided to take on, not because I found it particularly interesting, or tasty, but because I had it in my refrigerator and I needed to do something with it. Though I'm not sure of the lifespan of tofu, I assumed because I found it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, that it wouldn't last forever.

When I bought it, I noticed there were several varieties from which to choose from.

I chose "firm” tofu. Not because I knew that's what I should do, but because I imagined "soft" tofu would likely have the consistency of cottage cheese and though I like cottage cheese, I wouldn’t really know what to do with that. Also, writing "firm," even if it's pertaining to tofu, is humorous.

If what I bought was indeed the "firm" variety of tofu, I would hate to imagine what the "soft" version looks like. The firm tofu was like a wet, white sponge.

I removed the sponge from its packaging and cut it into squares, threw them into a frying pan with some olive oil and garlic. For the most part, the tofu browned evenly and stayed firm, its composition intact. Some of the squares did fall apart, making for little tofu bits swimming around in the curry after I poured that in. I tossed in some steamed broccoli, and served it, to myself, over jasmine rice.

And that is how I successfully cooked with tofu.

My Tofu Curry plus broccoli over jasmine rice was awesome.

And that of course means: I love curry. I love jasmine rice. I love broccoli. I still don't love tofu, even when I made it myself.

But three out of four ain't bad.


  1. I think you nailed it. I love to eat tofu because of all the healthy reasons, and I love the shit I put on top of it, but, on it's own... I tolerate it.

  2. Stephanie,
    I have been following your vegetarian shenanigans with no small amount of skepticism; I was afraid that if you become a vegetarian after this I was going to have to re-evaluate our friendship. However, this renews my belief that we are cut from the same cloth, therefore I still love you. Also, I almost vomited four times while reading this. Please never use the words tofu and swimming in the same sentence ever again.
    Yours truly,

  3. Silly JVV. She was a vegetarian once too. She even blogged about it. :)

    But, a dozen year after becoming vegetarian, I concede that tofu is certainly not a love worthy food by itself.