Tofu: much maligned, oft misinterpreted, and poorly managed. Awkward in the spotlight, too unremarkable to suffer attention.
To clear things up early, this is not about extolling the merits of tofu, nor defending the indefensible. It is, nonetheless, in part at least, about tofu.
In short, it gets a bad wrap. Always in plastic and all. Tofu has come to represent all that is unjust about a meatless existence. It’s become the shy, anti-poster boy of bland, boring, and meritless. Seemingly without any redeeming qualities.
Here’s where you’ve got it wrong.
At its worst, tofu is a high-protein sponge for every other ingredient with which it’s accompanied. Come to think of it; that’s probably tofu at its best as well. With a little iron and calcium thrown into the mix.
Don’t like tofu? Blame your cooking. All tofu does is suck up and reflect the flavour in which, like a firm or silken jellyfish, it gets to swim.
Do you like sesame oil, chilli, garlic, star anise and cumin? Cook your tofu in this spice mix and it’s what you’ll be tasting. They’re the flavours it will absorb and reflect.
So, if you’re going to have a crack at tofu, point your spongy, listless finger at every ingredient around it. They are to blame. Don’t ask what your tofu can do for you, ask what you can do for your tofu.
Ok. Here’s the newsflash: you are not tofu. Well, you don’t need to be.
You are not purposed to be a flavour absorber, but a flavour producer. You are called to change the flavour, like salt, not reflect it, like tofu.
The source of wisdom says that ‘out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.’ Out of the flavour brewing within, flavour is produced on the outside.
When there’s good stuff going on within, good flavours come out. When there’s ordinary stuff going on inside, the flavours aren’t so flash. They’re often toxic. Sometimes there might by an imposed need for appropriateness and correctness, but apply the right pressure and the right lubricant (like a bunch of blokey blokes, for example) and you’ll see the true colours come shining through.
This is how grown men end up scoffing about drowning female journalists. This is how a scenario like Eddie, James, Sam and Danny results in a banal, vitriolic, and offensive gang-led diatribe. Light-hearted in their minds, ‘just having a laugh’ for those who are taking it ‘all too seriously’, but revealing what’s within. And not too deep within either. An overflow.
Perhaps one of the players in the sad media drama could argue he was tofu – merely absorbing and reflecting the bad flavours that surrounded them – but either way, there are problems with ingredient selection.
The problem is not poor filtering and a need for better self-censorship. I don’t think Caroline Wilson would be overly comforted that a group of men wanted to drown her but managed not to say so in public. It’s a heart problem – that’s the source of the overflow.
How I perceive women or anyone different to me for that matter, is a product of my heart condition. My willingness to love. My posture of humility and servanthood over pride and domination.
No, I don’t seriously think that this particular group of men had any genuine plan to drown a colleague in the industry, but vitriol in any form gives life to more ugly cancers. Other grubbier overflows of other hearts that are fuelled by these ‘benign’ comments.
So, today, are you tofu or not? A flavour absorber (and regurgitator), or a flavour enhancer?
The answer is likely answered by what’s driving the engine inside.