Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fake Chicken

On Wednesdays, my roommates and I have started this tradition to try a new restaurant in our neighborhood. You may think we'd run out of restaurants pretty quickly, but you haven't been to Allston. At least not my street. In a one block radius there are probably at least 40 different places to get food. Italian, American, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Brazilian, Columbian, Lebanese, Nepalese. It's pretty nice. But turning vegetarian, I was worried I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy this ritual, since chicken is my food of choice for any ethnic food.

Luckily, we can add Vegan Chinese to that list above, as last night we went to The Grasshopper, a local restaurant for people against eating just about everything. Well not everything apparently. On the menu they had chicken and shrimp! So much for vegan restaurant right? I got the sweet and sour chicken finger (yes it was singular on the menu, but I did get 5 of them). To drink I had a soy milk - that's more like it. It came with some veggies of course, and pineapple. It was delicious. I have a confession to make (something I seem to do a lot on this blog..) - the "chicken" wasn't real chicken, it was actually tofu. I have another confession to make - I knew that before ordering it. However, if I wasn't already incredibly keen, I would have actually believed I was eating chicken, the real deal. Let me tell you; those people in the Tofu Research Group (look it up) should win an award for deception, or if they don't give away awards for deception, then they should be scolded for tricking people. In short, this chicken was good. And by chicken I mean imitation tofu chicken.

Tofu is pretty impressive. It really seems to be a versatile substance. So after a heated game of basketball at the gym this evening, I went shopping with inspiration from my dinner the previous night. At Shaw's, the grocery chain around here, my roommate and I were confronted with a question I had never before considered - where to they keep the tofu?? What is it really? What section would it be in? I know tofu is based on soy, but there's no soy section. On the wikipedia site for the food (yes I wiki'ed tofu..) I found the analogy that tofu is to soy milk as cheese is to cow's milk. Not sure what that means exactly, since I don't think there are any cultures or enzymes involved in tofu, but the analogy nonetheless holds some weight. So, the cheese section? Nope. It's supposed to taste like meat, so meat section? No definitely not.. thats not the same demo by any means. Hmm, we were stumped, until we checked the tiny "Wild Harvest" section of Shaw's, specifically designed to cater to those crunchy granola types I associate with. Think of it like maybe one aisle of Whole Foods. This section is small, but packs a wallop. Or at least it packs tofu - in the freezer to be exact. Eureka! I picked up some Indian style tofu and tofu chicken breast, as well as some tofu based frozen meals with veggies already in 'em. Needless to say, I am excited.

My only reservation I have for my tofu endeavor is the price. Each meal went for about $3 to $4 -- cheaper than eating out, but on the other hand I think cooking a plate of spaghetti costs like 9 cents. The cost of rice just went up to 4 cents a plate I think I heard on the news. Point being, tofu is a bit pricey comparatively. I may have to get good at cooking the stuff, and then buy it in bulk which will save a few pennies. Until then, I will dream about my fake chicken meal, and pretend its real...

Meat Missing Update - Meat has gone missing! Local authorities perplexed!
That's what I imagine the headlines to be in my stomach. Then I imagine that I didn't write that and post it for the world to see, and I feel a bit better, if only for a moment.


Dean said...

Congratulations Devin (and Alex) for venturing into a potentially life changing, and healthy, experiment. I applaud your effort!

Devin E said...

Thanks Uncle Dean!