Now, I'm not quite sure why I consented to this, because you guys, I really am not a fan of tofu. It all started when I made a salad from one of the Moosewood cookbooks, which are wonderful--I highly recommend them. I was something of a smarty-pants graduate student, and I'm sure I thought I was about to blow everyone's mind with the expanded culinary horizons and whatnot. The recipe was some upstate-New-York-in-the-1980s version of a Vietnamese salad; it called for all manner of stuff I didn't have, however, and it was my very, very first experience (of not too many, as it turned out) cooking with tofu. I sliced, I diced, I chopped, I assembled, I dressed this salad, and I set it forth.
This was back in the day, and my then-husband took just one bite and then could go no further. And I don't blame him, not one bit: the dish had not only tofu, at which I was inexperienced, and therefore it had only its own sorry, spongy nature to draw upon, but the whole dish had an unhappy, and no doubt excessive, dose of dark sesame oil. It was a dark, dark day in the megastore kitchen, let me tell you: the food that went to waste! the horror of the spongy and the pungent!
In fact, "not a fan" is really not accurate. On that dark day, tofu became anathema to me.
Lest a thousand vegetarians descend upon this blog like a wolf upon the fold, let me pause to note the following:
- one bad tofu experience is surely inadequate evidence for declaring tofu "anathema."
- I should give tofu another try.
- flash-frying! flash-frying!
- with tofu, it's all about the context.
Not even rolled in delicate rice papers along with julienne of vegetables and rice noodles, accompanied by a very, very wealthy bean sauce. Tofu is tofu, and we have made an uneasy truce: I will allow that it has its virtues as long as it never tries to press any claim of deliciousness on me. It stays on its side of the table, and I stay on mine.