It’s been nearly four months since my daughter went vegetarian, and so far everyone is still alive. I would say our meat consumption as a family has gone down by about 50%, and my love of black beans has gone up about 500%.
Chickadee appears to be having no trouble sticking to her new lifestyle, and I have only found Otto hiding behind the house gnawing on a T-bone once. (I’m kidding.) (It was a package of sausage.)
Sometimes I make a “meat” entree for the rest of us and a “faux meat analog” for my daughter, of course, but a lot of the time I try to make a vegetarian meal that everyone will like. And we have several recipes in the rotation that everyone enjoys.
The problem is that my family keeps insisting that they don’t like tofu.
And; okay. I get it. I DO. Tofu is finicky. It must be prepared carefully if it’s to taste like something other than gummy pencil erasers. Truth be told, it’s not exactly my very favorite food, but it’s a great source of protein and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, VEGETARIANS SHOULD LIKE IT. I mean, I’m not surprised that Otto hates it, because Otto is… ummm… handsome and rugged and brilliant and wonderful and just a WEE BIT PICKY about his food. He’s a meat-n-potatoes kind of guy. But Chickadee insisting she doesn’t like it drives me BONKERS.
In fact, I like nothing better than when she’s raving about one of those Boca Burgers or Morningstar Farms patties (I keep them in the freezer for her to have when we’re having a meat-ful meal) than telling her that IT’S TOFU, SUCKER. (Sometimes I tell her it’s people, but she’s actually more freaked out by tofu than soylent green. WEIRDO.)
I went through a billion-step process, yesterday, to make a dinner with tofu that everyone could not help but love. I went to the health food store for nutritional yeast. I borrowed the definitive cookbook on how to make palatable tofu. And I used approximately an entire roll of a paper towels, pressing and draining my block of organic, hand-fed, gently-pampered tofu.
The tofu was double-fried per directions and then added to a modified (meat-free) version of a curry dish we used to eat all the time. I made this one with red and yellow peppers and red onion and sweet potatoes, so it was BRIGHT and COLORFUL and DELICIOUS.
Otto quietly ate what I served him and carefully declared, “I really like the sauce, the flavor of it.” He did not have seconds, which in Otto-world means he hated it.
Chickadee scarfed down the accompanying coconut rice and then carefully ate all of the peppers and reminded me again that she really doesn’t like tofu.
Monkey ate his rice at a glacial pace, then speared a piece of tofu at my urging and beamed. “Yum, CHICKEN!” he said, mid-chew.
“It’s TOFU,” corrected his sister.
“Oh,” he said, face falling. “I’m full. May I please be excused?”
This is the third or fourth meal I’ve made with tofu, and was definitely the most elaborate to prepare. This happens every time I make tofu, no matter HOW I make it; and isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?
FOR THE RECORD, I happen to think this particular tofu preparation (double-frying, coating with nutritional yeast) is actually REALLY REALLY TASTY. I would go to the trouble to do it again, even, if my family wasn’t full of UNAPPRECIATIVE FREAKS.