My first time…eating tofu

I know, for a second it seemed like I was about to tackle a completely different subject, but certain food items can sound just as taboo. My tofu chronicles as I call them started around a year ago – I’m not vegan or vegetarian although more than two thirds of my meals would make you think I am; I’m just guilty of loving vegetables… a bit too much.
I enjoy being in the kitchen, and I love cooking just as much as any other art form. Eating is just a bonus I don’t have when I paint or make things; I’d take a bite out of my canvas but I’m not sure they season them well these days, and I’m quite positive coffee tables aren’t actually coffee-flavored. Right now you must be thinking I belong in a gingerbread house like the one Hansel and Gretel fell upon, and I agree, unlike my clothes which keep screaming at me and asking for mercy every time I open the fridge. Mmm, cheese…
So, uhm, getting back to that tofu, I was at the supermarket one day and saw they actually sold quite a variety of the product, and having never really searched for tofu in Lebanon, I wrongfully thought the country was devoid of the delicacy. Well maybe “delicacy” isn’t the appropriate term for the interesting ingredient I was about to experiment on. I bought a pack, “extra-firm tofu steak” oh yeah, I was drooling already, Internet images racing through my mind. It’s safe to say I had never tasted tofu before, and had only read the raving comments of food bloggers posting eye-catching caramelized chunks of my soy-based friend.
I returned home, found a basic recipe I could tweak at ease and started the process. Being a big fan of curry, I made a spicy vegetarian version and dropped my now crisped up cubes of tofu into the mix to absorb all the flavors. Sounds good till now huh? Some rice noodles, spiced tofu & vegetables in a light creamy yellow sauce and… no. As soon as I had swallowed the first chunk of what I can only describe as chewy boiled egg-white omelet, I knew I had to revert to plan B: fish them all out of my bowl and pretend they never existed. Flavored soggy cardboard would have done the job just fine, I believe.
I spent months convinced that tofu was a horrid invention and that those bloggers were insane for shoving such a thing into their mouths, my refined palate was appalled – well, some people think they have style whileas I believe I have gourmet tastes, and yes my palate comes equiped with a full range of emotions.
A few months later, I spent two weeks in Germany, and venturing on risky ground, had what I’m convinced was the best tofu dish ever. Battered and swimming in a caramel soy sauce and shiitake mushrooms… my tummy demanded more and my palate was in a state of pure ecstasy. Needless to say I went back again! Then I left Deutschland and its culinary wonders, and plunged into a gloomy pool of despair, deprived of my sweet beloved… I read too much Poe, I know.
Since then, I’ve had a tofu-based dish once, and I enjoyed it, but still haven’t dared cook the tricky thing myself. However, I now feel ready to try and take on the monster again and this time, it’d better be edible…closer to tissue paper maybe? I think I’ve had my dose of cardboard for a while…


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