Monday, October 5, 2009

the horror of cooking

I tend to reserve my point and laugh posts for knitwear, however today I will make an exception. My mum got this book cheap in a sale, and thought that she'd picked up a real bargain. She's a strict vegan so a huge book of tofu recipes sounds like the perfect purchase, right? WRONG! This is no normal cookbook, there is something deeply and fundamentally wrong with it.

The Giant Book of Tofu Cooking

So, it's a book about cooking with tofu. There are lots of recipes, for everything from starters, to main courses, desserts, sauces, baked goods. It's certainly not lacking in scope. What it is lacking in however is nutritional good sense and potentially edible recipes.

Call me presumptuous if you like, but I would assume that tofu would be used as the main protein ingredient in the recipes, or as a replacer for eggs or dairy. What I was not expecting was to see it used alongside eggs, cheese and butter. It seems as if the tofu has been added to recipes for no decent reason. For example, there is a recipe for hoummous in here where some of the chickpeas have been substituted for tofu. Why? I have no idea. Another wonderful example is:
"Southern fried tofu with tofu-enhanced mashed potatoes - looking for some homemade country cooking without all the fat? Read on. Serve with cornbread and coleslaw for a complete Southern meal."

It's panfried tofu cubes, served with potatoes that are mashed together with soft tofu. I don't know if it's just me, but this sounds both bland and nightmarish.

For the most part, the tofu in these recipes is used unmarinaded which as anyone who has eaten plain tofu will know, is horribly bland. The few recipes that do call for marinading are the most edible looking out of the whole book. Which brings me to my next criticism - bizarre ingredient combinations only a maniac could have dreamed up.
Here's a few of the most "interesting" sounding:

"Gazpacho - We've added some tropical flair to this traditional Spanish soup with the addition of sweet pineapple"

This is vandalism! Why would you do that? Gazpacho doesn't need pineapple in it. It also doesn't need diced plain tofu sprinkled on top like soggy, dreadful croutons.

"Mediterranean Banana Tortilla wedges - Mediterranean cuisine is known for its delicious and surprising flavour combinations. These crispy tortilla wedges are filled with savory layers of banana, tofu and fresh cilantro. Serve with a big bowl of chilled salsa."
There is nothing Mediterranean about combining tortillas, bananas, coriander and salsa. I am almost tempted to make this just to see how horrible it really is but that would be a waste of food and time. This sounds absolutely stomach churningly revolting.

Other things worthy of special mention are a supposedly South African dish made from onions, bread, raisins, nuts, chutney and chunks of tofu topped off with savoury egg custard and baked, a pasta bake that contains tomatoes, cinnamon, yoghurt, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and tofu, pumpkin and tofu pancakes, and that traditional Spanish dessert, tofu flan.

This reads like an elaborate joke. I will have hours of fun reading the recipes and rolling about on the floor convulsed with laughter. However I can't imagine ever wanting to eat any of this.

If you're mad enough to want to buy it after reading this review then it's available on Amazon here. I think anyone posting good reviews is clearly mental.


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Otter (SkyNorth on Ravelry) said...

Tofu - what's not to totally lurrrv!!!!
Link from your Ravelry profile - what a larf!
Fab blog too! Will add to list on mine.