Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Thought for Food
Picture the following hypothetical scenario; man has reached a pinnacle in his existence. Food no longer is a matter of necessity, rather, we are presented with a venerable plethora of foodstuffs to consume at our discretion. The nearly eternal list of fare available is chalk full of deliciousness in all of its deep fried glory. Yet somehow, during this same period of foodstuff smorgasbordism, a group of individuals musters their collective contemplative will and inventiveness to present to the human race a new food. This food is achieved by extracting milky liquids from soybeans, combining said liquids, curdled, with a coagulant, and presenting the resulting product in a pressed cake.
Sadly, this scenario isn’t in the least bit hypothetical. It is true that we as humans have more choice in food than ever before. And it is true that among the choices presented to us are many tofu like foods, and indeed tofu itself. Admittedly, others have hypothesized different theories regarding the creation of tofu. While it is beyond doubt that the creators were evil, it is unclear whether Satan himself had his hand in the formation of tofu, or whether those responsible were lesser imps.
Admittedly, my criticisms of tofu are a result only of tofu being utilized as a consumable. There are, I believe, many non-edible applications for which tofu is well suited. As a highly durable and effective household insulation, tofu is an excellent heavy construction material. Thanks to its impressive absorbability, tofu is well suited in the bathroom sponge role. Finally, I don’t believe there exists any better device to selectively torture vegetarians, than tofu.
Tofu’s invention was the result of a search for a meat alternative. At the time, many argued that weiners already filled that niche neatly, but tofu’s conception continued unabated. That tofu was allowed to materialize says much about man, but mankind continues forward knowing that no amount of bean milking will dislodge meat from its lofty peak of food perfection.
At present, there are two basic methods of obtaining meat; “hunting” and “shopping”. One method requires a steely nerve, near infinite persistence, and a will to tread on the world’s most inhospitable terrain. The other involves shooting animals with a gun. Presently, shopping is by far the most popular method of obtaining edible flesh, while hunting occupies a secondary position in the matter, its popularity being constrained by its close association to rock and roll music virtuoso and general weirdo Ted Nugent.
Even with the mega-motivating factor of meat, and opportunity to eat meat, shopping is still an altogether distasteful experience. The procedure of “shopping” begins when one realizes that the only things left in the refrigerator are half a carton of outdated milk and several pickles. Following the unsuccessful combination and consumption of those two items, one sets forth to the grocery store.
Upon arrival, the consumer usually finds convenient parking well within several dozen furlongs of the store itself. However, as soon as one enters the store, the convenience quickly ends. An eternal barrage of brand names and brand types bombard the psychologically fragile consumer, and the choices presented threaten to overwhelm even the most coherent individual.
Does one purchase “Heinz® Original Tomato Ketchup” in a traditional glass bottle, or in a more contemporary 15-oz plastic “EZ SqueezeTM“ bottle? What of “New Heinz® Light Tomato Ketchup”? How exactly does it differ from “New! Heinz® One Carb Ketchup” with “75 percent less sugar and only one-third the calories of the traditional variety”? What should be made of “Heinz® CertifiedTM Organic Tomato Ketchup”? Being organic, does the whole bottle grow on trees without the assistance of customary pesticides? Finally, why do the grammatically incorrect “Heinz® Hot & Spicy Ketchup Kick'rs” have “Kick!TM”? I assure you, these same perplexing condimental questions have plagued me for days after I have left the grocery store.
Barring these difficulties there is light at the end of the tunnel. Having carefully navigated the fresh vegetable section and avoided accidentally turning down the feminine hygiene isle, one is likely to find oneself amongst great quantities of edible animal tissues. If you have made it this far, my suggestion would be to promptly fill your entire cart with AAA grade sirloin cuts, all purpose ground beef, and breakfast sausages with a 90% fat content. This accomplished, make a b-line for the checkout, avoiding the probing stares of your fellow consumers.
The modern alternative to shopping and cooking food is “fast food”. Fast food is so named because the ingestion of even a moderate amount of it will promptly balloon your weight to levels of Marlon Brando. Still, such is the intensity of its deep fried tastiness that it is often “an offer we can’t refuse”. Furthermore meat, or what is claimed to be meat, is often implicated in fast food, thus furthering its appeal. The “meat” offered by the fast food industry includes McDonald’s wafer thin sawdust paddies, KFC’s deep fried batter(with chicken), and Taco Time’s volatile tubular ground beef conveyers.
With the exception of corpulence-inducing fast food and the evil personified that is tofu, the state of food is relatively tolerable. The emergent vegan/vegetarian alliance has yet to overcome the mighty authority of the char-grilled tenderloin, and mankind is still, on the whole, willing to accept the sacrifice of scrumptious four legged beasts. Emeril Lagasse and the obnoxious wave of “Bam!” jokes are, mercifully, in decline. Finally, we in the west now enjoy the wholesale presentation of bizarrely translated Japanese cook-offs. Yes, the state of food is reasonable indeed, unless of course you have a malicious lump of tofu in your fridge. If you do, realize that you are a small part of a very large problem. Of course, if you are using that tofu as an odor eater in place of baking soda, then all is well. Sit back, enjoy a fine t-bone steak, and flip on a hard earned episode of “Iron Chef”.
Posted by Junker at 8:46 PM