Tofu True Story; A Meatless Tale
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
WARNING: No animals were harmed for the making of this story, or this meal.
I recently started a personal training program and also a diet modification that entails not eating beef or chicken. Now, this is no small feat for a girl from the midwest. Meat is a staple. Meat is an art. Meat is its own food group! (along with cheese, frosting, and probably beer). However, my trainer insists this is key to my success and suggested as alternatives fish, rice, and well, as you may have guessed, tofu.
After a period of flat-out denouncing the very idea of eating this mysterious soy product I seeked the opinion and support of friends who somehow have survived on a diet that does not consist of meat. The adoration of tofu was astounding! I was inspired. I broke down and bought a 14oz package of extra-firm tofu.
I searched high and low for a promising recipe... Asian Stir Fry with Tofu? No, that's tofu with a lot of vegetables; much too ambitious. Coconut Tofu Keema? I'm not sure what Keema is and it doesn't sound like it should go with coconut. Crispy Barbequed Tofu Slices? Hmmm... I like things that are crispy and this involves barbeque sauce. This could be okay, possibly even edibile.
As I was draining the tofu, yes draining, all I could think is, I'm supposed to eat this? It smells like glue. I drained it, I pressed it, I took pictures of it in case I ever need proof, I sliced it, I pressed it again, I baked it and pressed it yet again. After a couple of sniffs, I concluded the glue smell was gone. Next the promising BBQ recipe called for dipping the baked tofu slices in egg, then flour and frying a little in olive oil. Mmmm... kinda smells like chicken. Next I warmed up the grill and grabbed the BBQ sauce. KC Masterpiece; an old standby from the days of not wanting to eat meat. (HA! Not wanting to eat meat - what was I THINKING?!) I tossed the tofu onto the grill and proceded to marinate, flip, char a little bit, and repeat. By now it's after 10pm... I've had a hard workout after work and haven't eaten since 1 this afternoon. I'm decidedly hungry and the delicious smells coming off the grill are making my mouth water and tummy grumble. Not to mention the appetite all of this prep work has created.
I grab the slices off the grill, skip back into the house beeming with the accomplishment of cooking something "healthy" that actually looks and smells like a scrumptous success. I'm almost too giddy to grab a nice big bun on which to eat my tasty tofu. Almost. Sandwich-in-hand I take my first bite... OH MY GOD! Why in the hell did I just waste over an hour cooking this crap?! ...and quick, where's my glass of milk?!
Okay... so my initial reaction was a bit dramatic but let me explain. This stuff kind of had a chicken-type look to it (well other than it being a sort of square shape, but Wendy's has square meat and that's all good), it smelled like it could've been chicken, and vegetarians say "it tastes like chicken". Let me tell you, they're either lying through their veggie-munching teeth or they freakin' forgot what chicken tastes like. Chicken does not taste like BBQ-covered plastic. And yes, tofu has a taste. And a texture. Ugh. *shudder* Don't get me wrong, it doesn't taste BAD, per se, and we're not talking about a Fear Factor-esque experience, it just doesn't taste like food. (Ever get so sick of food that you want something to eat but nothing sounds good? Eat some soy - I promise you that 17 other things will immediately sound fantastic.) I just cannot imagine someone getting up in the morning and thinking, Man, I'm hungry for some TOFU!. If you are one of those people... try bacon. It's DELICIOUS. (and very versatile)
So with the help of a little more KC Masterpiece (and what a masterpiece it is), I was able to choke down most of the sandwich. I'm no longer hungry. I'm not sure if that's because of the sandwich or the thought of eating another one. You see, there are 4 more slices and I can't imagine that microwaving them is going to improve the situation. Looks like it's back to fish. : )