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Tofu me once, shame on you, tofu me twice shame on me.

So maybe some of you can help me understand this. There is one of those people in my office that doesn’t eat meat. Actually it’s not only eating meat or fish or milk or cheese it’s pretty much anything that has anything to do with any living thing. What are they called; Vegans? I was actually shocked; she looks just like one of “us”, you know us normal carnivores. While I don’t mean to poke fun at anyone’s personal belief’s (ok maybe poke a little fun) if you feel there is a significant health benefit or have some moral belief against eating meat or meat byproducts etc. so be it.

I am not of that belief, I am a proud carnivore and nothing appeals to me more than red meat. I love steak, right wrong or indifferent I love it. However, with this vegan hanging around I have decided to be more “adventurous” lately and I have opened my palate to trying many vegan dishes. I will say I’m rather impressed with the tastiness of much of what I have sampled. Between dishes from home which she has made and from a local vegan restaurant, which I believe is a chain The Loving Hut.

Let’s cut to the “meat” of my topic (pun intended). I have had a vegan cheese burger (obviously void of any burger or cheese), I have had a vegan cheese steak (obviously void of either cheese or steak, I have had a wonderful shrimp dish (obviously void of any shrimp) as well as a few other dishes. All have been remarkably tasty, and in all honesty if I didn’t know it was “tofu”, or a vegan dish, you could have very easily fooled me into believing they were “normal” meat, cheese and shrimp.

My question is this……apparently the source of all these dishes is tofu, which is a bean curd that obviously is very flexible with its texture and flavor. Why imitate the antithesis of what being Vegan is all about? I kind of find it hypocritical that vegans want to eat “burgers” and “cheese steaks” and “shrimp”. If tofu is soooooo flexible in its appeal and flavor why not create completely new genre of food. Why not make a tufo burger to be blue in color…..and not have such a “chopped meat” consistency. Make it something completely new and different. While I really did enjoy the dishes, afterward I was just left a little empty. That was good but not as good as a real burger or cheese steak, just a little off, so why bother?

Am I making sense? It’s a great replica…….but it’s still a replica. Why not create something all new? Something completely different than what is out there, it seems silly to keep trying to replicate the carnivore world. I have also had some tofu in Asian/Chinese/Thai dishes….which seems to be much blander just taking on the taste of whatever sauce they are in. It seems to me if I were really into this vegan thing I would want all new tastes and flavors….instead of both mimicking in look and flavor many of the staples of a carnivore diet.

Thoughts?

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  1. Though I can't speak for vegans, there is a long tradition in Asia of 'Mock Duck' etc. But there are also many dishes which do not imitate meat. IMO tofu has *no* flavor, so it needs all the help it can get, sort of like veal.

    3 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        On its own, it reminds me, in taste and texture, of cooked egg white. I prefer it sauteed or in some sort of sauce.

        1. re: ricepad

          Fair point. You may well have eaten superior tofu to what I have tried. And your palate may be more discerning.

      2. Here's an old thread on the topic, with lots of thoughts.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/433694

        On still another thread, where this inquiry was just an aside, I explained myself thusly:

        I eat fake meat, myself, and the reason won't confuse anyone. I like the taste & texture of (some) fake meat, and I don't like the taste & texture of (any) real meat. Which is why I don't eat tofu hot dogs - I find them too hot-dog-like.

        1. I guess it's the equivalent of wearing fake fur? While I lurve meat like the good little T-Rex that I am, I think fur coats are gross. But I'd wear a fake.

          I recognize the hipocrisy here and am completely comfortable with it.

          1. Why are hamburgers and pizza so overwhelmingly popular when there are countless other options available. Sometimes people just crave familiarity.