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I sat there staring at it. The so called “blob” of the food world. That infamously taboo food with a worse reputation than Lindsey Lohan. Its unpleasant corners, soft texture, and initial lack of flavor strike fear into the hearts of its meat-craving nay-sayers.
Two years ago, when morals met willpower, I decided to join the tofu-loving clan that is veganism. Over those two years, I have “come out” to people plenty of times. I vividly remember their faces twist and turn like Bop-its as they ask that same universal question: “But like you don’t eat tofu…right?” Yes. Let it be on record once and for all that, as horrendous and terrifying as it may seem, I eat a lot of tofu.
Of all the mysterious and questionable food products on the market today, why tofu? What has this coagulated soybean product done to evoke such loathing? I feel there is a lot to be learned from the seemingly simple commodity. As a student who has lived on two continents, I have spent most of my life chasing my roots, only to be met with another plane ticket and school registration packet. The restless hours on planes, the cramped hotel stays, the homecomings and the countless goodbyes all lead up to the inevitable blank slate. When life gives me a blank slate I don’t just let it be, I slather it with some seasoning and spice it up just as I would to my beloved tofu.
Like tofu, I have always been one to soak up the flavors around me. Almost every night in my family’s omnivorous kitchen, that blank block gets turned into a delicious masterpiece spiked with the flavors that I choose to surround it in. I pride myself on my ability to absorb my surroundings yet add my own unique spice. Joining that tofu-loving clan has encouraged me to explore and embrace my essence. No longer am I ashamed of my exuberant passions, because I now realize that it is these unparalleled ideas that allow for innovation and create the diverse world I live in today.
I admit, I was one of the tofu naysayers only because I failed to look at it from a different perspective. I saw it for what it was, a bland coagulated soy compound, and not what it could be, a delicious stir-fry or part of an elegant souffle. I will never be able to change the inherent blandness of tofu, but what I can do is look at it in a positive light and think of what I can do to make it better, or more flavorful for that matter. I’ve learned to never let that blank slate overwhelm me and to just strive on with creativity, with my own unique spice.
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