Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Confessions of an experienced veggo

I'd like to share a little secret with you.

I've dabbled in being vegetarian for the last 14 years or so - no, that's not the secret.
When you live in the UK for 16 months just after the last major Mad Cow scare, and get fed nothing but two day old lamb left overs for every lunch and dinner, the toast you get at breakfast becomes your favourite meal and when your tour of hospitality duty is over, you become a vegetarian. True story.  Foodwise, hotels in England were my Nam.

Am I allowed to say that? I really like tenuous metaphors; I'm sorry.

Part of my secret is that in the 14 years that I have practiced being a herbivore with far more frequency than I've sharpened by canine teeth on the bone of a steak, there is one staple food that I have never been able to come at. Never. Not once. Tofu.

Tofu is disgusting.

I've tried everything. I've tried having it sitting there brazenly on my plate, standing out like rubber amongst the vegetables. I've bought the really soft stuff, and mashed it in amongst potatoes to conceal it. I've minced it and pretended it's spaghetti sauce, and tried to mask it with a very potent cocktail of  herbie tomato sauce. But no matter what I do, tofu is stealthy. You might not even be able to see it, feel it or smell it but then suddenly it's there, tasting like tofu on your plate.

Today, whilst in the ghetto province of Seymourland, I didn't like my chances of getting my favourite vegetarian sausages (which do, I admit, have tofu in them but not much); and I was right - they didn't stock them, but I was quite taken aback by their range of vegetarian burgers and sausages. Certain brands - the more expensive ones with less preservatives and palm oil - are already favourites, and they stocked varieties I'd not seen in three Woolworths in Melbourne. This ghetto might be vegetarian! This now brings me to the real dirty little secret - the first one was just a decoy.

I am an idiot.

I am an idiot who keeps going back for more. Give me a bad relationship, I'll plug away at it. Give me an abusive friendship and I'll still be there like a masochistic freak. Give me tofu and I will keep on trying to like it! I am an IDIOT!

So, yeah. All these amazeballs looking sausages and burgers and I bought home tofu. In ginger sauce - cos I like ginger so well. Maybe I think two hideous components of the food chain combined will ignite an as yet unimpressed tastebud? So why did I do it? Because I am a brand new vegan, and I'm sick of bloody beans so I'm ready to give anything a crack!

This is my tofu.

If I'm honest, it didn't taste too bad - but it's real success was that it didn't taste like much of anything at all, except chilli. Is cooking a success if I've only managed to bring tofu up to being hidden by an ingredient that also tastes like nothing, it's just hot?

I think so - to be honest, I just had an orange and I couldn't taste that either :-) So, really hot chilli masks all.

Still, I do like food and I don't want the next odd months of my life to be about buying shares in Mexican bell chillies so I can burn the upper layer of tastebuds off my tongue, thus forever negating the horrible taste of any food at all. For sheer convenience, I'd really like to be ale to eat tofu. So, because I am an idiot, I will persevere!



  1. Oh darling! Tofu in stirfry is magical!!! I love the 'bready' style one with udon noodles and ANY type in my pad thai. I heart tofu. I wish I could pass my love of it on to you! That makes me a sad panda.
    Tofu as dessert food, however... a tool of the devil. Right up there with chocolate coated sultanas. Pointless, cruel and a waste of perfectly good dessert.

  2. I am going out for Japanese tonight. I shall try professional tofu - something I've never had!

  3. I am going out for Japanese tonight. I shall try professional tofu - something I've never had!