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Robin Garr

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Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:43 pm

Well, not really for Thanksgiving. But I actually have picked up a small one and plan to roast it just for giggles this evening, mostly out of curiosity and possibly, if it's not too awful, for an article. What wine goes with this thing? :lol:

Have any of you actually tried Tofurky? What did you think of it, really? I'm actually pretty much of a fan of tofu, but I need good quality product, preferably used in a ethnic-appropriate Southeast Asian or Chinese dish. What should I expect? And ... what wine does it pair with?
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Daniel Rogov

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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:22 pm

Robin Garr wrote: What did you think of it, really?



Robin, Hi....

Do you really and truly want to know what I think of this?


Best
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:38 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:[Do you really and truly want to know what I think of this?

Sure, Rogov, assuming that your opinion is based on actual experience. :mrgreen:
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:33 pm

"Actual experience" with similar products (e.g. kosher bacon, artificial shrimps, non-dairy creamers, soy-based "steaks") and the like have made me cognizant of the wisdom of every religion on the planet that has it: "If it's like an egg, its not as good as an egg".

As to this product, if I knew it was on a particular rack in a freezer case, I would be sure not to walk within 12 feet of it on the chance that it might be contagious.

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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:47 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:"If it's like an egg, its not as good as an egg".

Oh, I concur in full, although I might cut a small exception for some Chinese Buddhist cuisine I've tried in which meat "analogues" come surprisingly close.

But I try to come at things like this from a different direction: Not judged by what it seeks poorly to emulate but on its own merits, how does it taste?

I do see the smile, though. Thanks!
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:46 pm

Wow - talk about a willingness to take one for the team!

I'll look forward to reading what you have to say on this "sure looks like an abomination" item.
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Paul Winalski » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:54 pm

First off, the very name "Tofurky" sounds rude.

I enjoy tofu in its native context in oriental cuisine. What I can't figure out is who the market is for Tofurky. Meat-eaters won't go near it. True vegetarians aren't interested in making non-meat look like meat. So who wants this stuff?

-Paul W.
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:37 pm

It is tiring to see vegan food looking like meat or made to be like meat. It vegans don't want meat, that is fine....why then, are products for vegans made to look like it? Seems sort of silly. If I did not want to eat eggs for some reason, I certainly would not go looking for products artificially looking like an egg.
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Lou Kessler » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:54 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:It is tiring to see vegan food looking like meat or made to be like meat. It vegans don't want meat, that is fine....why then, are products for vegans made to look like it? Seems sort of silly. If I did not want to eat eggs for some reason, I certainly would not go looking for products artificially looking like an egg.

Thanks, I've been waiting for somebody to say what I've always wanted to say. Who the hell wants something emulated that they don't like?
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:15 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:First off, the very name "Tofurky" sounds rude.

It does?
I enjoy tofu in its native context in oriental cuisine.

You mean "Asian"? "Oriental" is not only Western-centric but oh, so '50s ... :oops:
What I can't figure out is who the market is for Tofurky. Meat-eaters won't go near it. True vegetarians aren't interested in making non-meat look like meat.

And your status to speak on behalf of "true vegetarians" is? Some of the very "Asians" you mention - vegetarian Zen Buddhists - have developed remarkable cuisines based on wheat and soy-based meat analogues.
So who wants this stuff?

My best guess is that it's vegetarians who went off animal flesh as adults for ethical reasons but still want to get a hint of childhood nostalgia on holidays. Or vegetarians with meat-eating families who are willing to compromise. Or omnivores adventurous enough to try something rather than just attacking it without ever having tried it. Just to name a few. ;)

Not picking on you, Paul, except maybe as a little friendly needling. ;) But I was a little surprised by the level of your apparent hatred for a poor helpless loaf of wheat gloten and soy products that you apparently haven't actually tried. 'sup with that?
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Karen/NoCA » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:21 am

Lou Kessler wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:It is tiring to see vegan food looking like meat or made to be like meat. It vegans don't want meat, that is fine....why then, are products for vegans made to look like it? Seems sort of silly. If I did not want to eat eggs for some reason, I certainly would not go looking for products artificially looking like an egg.

Thanks, I've been waiting for somebody to say what I've always wanted to say. Who the hell wants something emulated that they don't like?

:)
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Bernard Roth

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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Bernard Roth » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:48 am

I so agree with Karen.

Children need to be fooled to eat things that are good for them. But if someone is adult, why are they willingly suspending disbelief to partake in phonyism. I know a vegetarian who eats tofu-dogs. Huh????

As to what to wine to drink with Tofurkey?

Well, Robin. Only one makes perfect sense...

If you are taking one for the team, let's get the dope on the Ariel "wine" spectrum.
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:11 am

Bernard Roth wrote: let's get the dope on the Ariel "wine" spectrum.

Been there, done that. It's not wine, and sadly, it's not even grape juice.
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:02 am

Bernard Roth wrote:Children need to be fooled to eat things that are good for them. But if someone is adult, why are they willingly suspending disbelief to partake in phonyism. I know a vegetarian who eats tofu-dogs. Huh????

The thing that really intrigues me the most about the negative responses from some of you is its intensity. I'm not clear why you care so much about what other people do. I'm not a vegetarian, but I thought it would be fun to taste this weirdly named product and see what I thought. What I thought is that it's similar to Chinese "mock duck" and other Buddhist meat analogues made from gluten, soy, tempeh and the like. We have two (related) restaurants here that specialize in this - Zen Garden and Zen Tearoom - and they're actually pretty decent.

As for the why question, I don't have that hard a time putting myself in someone else's shoes: I could easily envision a person who grew up omnivore but decided to go veggie on the basis of ethics, making a sacrifice for a life choice they thought was right, but still missing the iconic feasts. Why not eat something that reminds them of happy childhood holidays? No, Tofurky doesn't taste much like turkey. I found the texture "meaty" and the flavors more on the "wheat" side of the flavor wheel. It was okay, though, like Chinese mock duck in the cross-cultural setting of roasted veggies, wild-mushroom sauce and a built-in stuffing of wild rice and whole wheat.

It's okay. I probably won't do it again. But I don't feel any impulse to savage the people who choose it as "phonies" and such. Why should I care what they do? Or, to quote Bernie, "Huh????"
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Lou Kessler » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:30 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Bernard Roth wrote:Children need to be fooled to eat things that are good for them. But if someone is adult, why are they willingly suspending disbelief to partake in phonyism. I know a vegetarian who eats tofu-dogs. Huh????

The thing that really intrigues me the most about the negative responses from some of you is its intensity. I'm not clear why you care so much about what other people do. I'm not a vegetarian, but I thought it would be fun to taste this weirdly named product and see what I thought. What I thought is that it's similar to Chinese "mock duck" and other Buddhist meat analogues made from gluten, soy, tempeh and the like. We have two (related) restaurants here that specialize in this - Zen Garden and Zen Tearoom - and they're actually pretty decent.

As for the why question, I don't have that hard a time putting myself in someone else's shoes: I could easily envision a person who grew up omnivore but decided to go veggie on the basis of ethics, making a sacrifice for a life choice they thought was right, but still missing the iconic feasts. Why not eat something that reminds them of happy childhood holidays? No, Tofurky doesn't taste much like turkey. I found the texture "meaty" and the flavors more on the "wheat" side of the flavor wheel. It was okay, though, like Chinese mock duck in the cross-cultural setting of roasted veggies, wild-mushroom sauce and a built-in stuffing of wild rice and whole wheat.

It's okay. I probably won't do it again. But I don't feel any impulse to savage the people who choose it as "phonies" and such. Why should I care what they do? Or, to quote Bernie, "Huh????"

You make a good case for your position Robin. I think the responses you see here are because of the holier than though attitude by vegetarians to the wrongness of the ways of omnivores. :x Today being Thanksgiving I will observe an armistice toward vegetarians. Now I will be participating in an one hundred % omnivore feast today with no apologies to anyone. "Merry Thanksgiving to All"
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:08 am

Robin, Hi...

I cannot speak for the others but my own strong response is the result of many years of tasting "substitutes" that are used in the name of keeping kosher (e.g. beef, turkey or goose "bacon"), shrimps made from surimi, artificial (that is to say, chemical) cream substitutes) and yes, even soya milk, all of which have proved seriously wanted when compared to "the real thing". I accept those things for those who are lactose intolerant or have special dietary/health needs but find no justification whatever for putting them on the table of people who are capable of digesting the true products. I also accept them for those who choose to be vegetarian or to maintain kashrut or halal for moral reasons. Even then, however, there are enough of the real products that substitutes are not required.

Ye faithful curmudgeon
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Bernard Roth » Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:56 pm

In defence, I meant phonyism only in a factual sense to describe the product, not the person who buys or eats it.

I am perfectly happy to eat non-meat substitute proteins. Seitan, tofu in various preps, tempeh - they all have a good place in vegetarian cooking. In none of the dishes I eat is it ever presented as faux-meat in disguise.
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:22 am

Robin Garr wrote:But I don't feel any impulse to savage the people who choose it as "phonies" and such. Why should I care what they do?

Well said, though my sympathies lie with those who jape at hypocrisy. (There is a cultural association of wealth and status with frequent and plentiful meat meals. The folks who name tofu dishes after meat dishes seem to me to long for societal approval and to bask in reflected glory.)

What would you think if I shaped meat into a large ball, added some HFCS and dark red tint, and sold it as 'roast beefts' ? How about a 'carnivore carrot' made of formed chopped chicken? Would the vegetarians laugh me off or be annoyed?
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:55 am

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:What would you think if I shaped meat into a large ball, added some HFCS and dark red tint, and sold it as 'roast beefts' ? How about a 'carnivore carrot' made of formed chopped chicken? Would the vegetarians laugh me off or be annoyed?

Good one, Jeff, for chuckles, thanks! Not really a good analogy, though. Please go back and read my response to Bernie, which says pretty much all I've got to say. (By the way, I assume that vegetarians would laugh, if they cared. Perhaps they would be less judgmental about what carnivores do than at least a few carnivores appear to be about what vegetarians do. Just sayin', speaking as a non-judgmental carnivore here ... ;) )
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:00 am

I figure that next Thanksgiving, I'll go all-out and make a dish of tempeh stuffed into seitan stuffed into tofu.

I'll call it "Tofuken"... :wink:
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Bill Spohn » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:08 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Paul Winalski wrote:First off, the very name "Tofurky" sounds rude.

It does?
I enjoy tofu in its native context in oriental cuisine.

You mean "Asian"? "Oriental" is not only Western-centric but oh, so '50s ... :oops:



I'm sure he only said that by occident....

I await your report with interest, Robin.
I spent a lot of time in Hawaii and have no problem with tofu and sometimes use it in cooking. I have to wonder if what they do to it will make it an improvement over untampered tofu, but I guess you'll find out.
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Robin Garr » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:39 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:I'm sure he only said that by occident....

:lol:
I await your report with interest, Robin.
I spent a lot of time in Hawaii and have no problem with tofu and sometimes use it in cooking. I have to wonder if what they do to it will make it an improvement over untampered tofu, but I guess you'll find out.

Not much of a report, but briefly told, it's a roll of a gluten/soy product that achieves an approximate kinship to the texture of turkey dark meat, though more solid, and a pretty interesting but utterly non-turkey-like flavor that's on the "wheaten" end of the spectrum, reminiscent of decent whole wheat or multigrain bread in flavor. I think it gains its holiday character mostly from a decent wild-rice and whole-wheat bread and herb stuffing built into the center of the roll, and by the suggested practice of cooking it tightly sealed with carrots, potatoes and onions and basted with olive oil, a dash of soy sauce and sage. It opens up with a real Thanksgiving aroma, the veggies taste great, and the "meat" is nothing at all like turkey but is a reasonable likeness of Buddhist Asian vegetarian "mock duck." I wouldn't bother to do it again, but I'd have no problem eating it on someone else's table. And to hammer down the nail one last time, I certainly wouldn't be judgmental about a vegetarian who wanted, or wanted to share with his family, something at least slightly reminiscent of a childhood pleasure.
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Bill Spohn » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:47 pm

Thanks for the report. Think I'd rather have my tofu with oyster sauce, on the whole.

Never too sure about any food labelled as 'mock' anything else. Why do people feel the need to pretend what they are eating isn't what it is?

This is all a bit too much like people drinking mock wine......
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Re: Tofurky for Thanksgiving? :D

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:44 pm

Robin -

Good to know that the stuff is reasonably edible, irrespective of its resemblance to turkey, or lack thereof. Here in California, you never know what kind of Thanksgiving dinner you'll end up getting invited to!
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