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January 06, 2005

Let's hear it for TVP

TVP, textured vegetable protein. How blunt and unpoetic. Extruded straight to the plate. Laboratory talk. White coats, stainless steel machines, and soybeans. I'm not a big fan of fake anything, least of all fake meat, which always strikes me as a deprivation approach to vegetarian eating. Why think of the glory of an all vegetable cuisine as meatless? By what it lacks from a non-vegetarian perspective? Then again, if there is to be no meat that means not even fake meat. No nostalgia for what is not there! That said, I never cease to be amazed at the sheer ingenuity, even wit, of mock foods, but only if they are made of natural ingredients--I detest the mock dairy products endemic to modern kosher cuisine and consider the non-dairy creamers white axel grease, a toxic transfatty superfluity. I sympathize with those who say that even faking treyf is not such a good idea and with vegetarians like Shawna who are equally opposed to faking meat. But, I do have to admit that the versatility of the soy bean, not only as a food but also an industrial product (and the way the line sometimes blurs) is astonishing, to mention only hydraulic fluids, animal care, candles, crayons, diesel additives, paint strippers, furniture, and building products. All of which is leading up to my rediscovery of TVP. When I had a bowl of vegetarian chili a few weeks back--I was teaching and needed a quick hot bite on a cold winter's day--I detected nice little chewy bits of TVP in the spicy mix. Tasty, I thought. But TVP is not so easy to find around town. Commodities on First Avenue at around 10th Street had it and I whipped up a beautiful pot of spicy chili.

Posted by BKG at January 6, 2005 11:02 AM