Recently, I took my first bite of what I thought was a steamy plate of sliced chicken and vegetables in a savory Asian sauce. Suddenly, my gag reflexes began to engage. Something was incredibly wrong.
“Dear,” I said to my wife. “I think there may be something wrong with my chicken.”
“That’s not chicken,” she replied.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It’s tofu.” she answered with a smile.
“Tofu!” I exclaimed. “Oh no! I’m not sure I’m ready for us to start eating tofu.”
For those of you who are unaware, tofu is a semi-food substance prepared by coagulating soy milk, then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness, and finally marinating it overnight in liquid sadness.
“The secret to eating tofu,” my wife explained, “Is to eat it with something else on your plate. You see, on its own, it has no taste.”
“That’s the truth!” I said.
“Try some more,” she said. “You might even start to like it.”
Instead, I shook my head and said, “I’m not sure I can eat tofu. It sounds like a condition you get from an old pair of sneakers.”
“Eat your dinner,” she replied.
“I’m not sure about this,” I said. “What if I get sick and people ask me what I have? I’ll have to say, ‘I’ve got the tofu.’ Then people are going to start saying, ‘There goes John. He never washes his feet and now he has tofu.’”
“Eat your dinner,” she said once again.
“I’m expected to finish this?” I exclaimed.
The expression on her face indicated that I had no choice.
So, I carefully partnered every bite of tofu with vegetables and wiped the plate clean of the sauce which also masked the absence of taste and personal freedom.
So far, we haven’t eaten tofu again. But there’s a block of it in our refrigerator. I discovered it after thinking it was cream cheese for my bagel.
*Image courtesy of Sherman Kwan.