Illusions, false dreams ruin us. Or, at least, they can diminish the happy experience of life; by trying constantly to reconcile truth with what one prefers to believe, one becomes constantly dissatisfied with one’s futility. One example of this pattern is the relationship between the American people and tofu. Originating in Asia, tofu was a source of protein where meat was scarce, but never seen as a replacement for meat. Certainly, there are the Buddhist tourist traps, where glossy vegetarian shrimps, fishes, and beeves are prepared, but the common family cooks tofu and meat in conjunction, celebrating the textures and flavors of both. However, Americans tend to view tofu differently. Tofu had never been a form of sustenance because soy was foreign to Europe, and, after the rise of the railroads and western expansion, fresh meat was plentiful. Instead, it has taken on the role of a social icon similar to the birkenstock, tie-dye shirt, and hybrid car. Though rich in social context, in the Western world, Tofu is pitifully lacking in satisfactory methods of preparation. For example, some vegetarians eat tofu as a meat replacement. While the protein levels are comparable, the texture is undeniably distinct; those who whine about eating “grilled tofu” while their friends eat hotdogs and burgers are hapless dreamers, destined to realize that they should stick to mushroom caps.

Tofu is not meat, nor ever will it be. It is delicious white stuff similar to the barbarian stuff some call “cheese”; both take some acclimation. People should enjoy, or at least, experience tofu, in a similar way as they experience cheese–that is, for its own flavors. Cheese can be pungent and oddly textured, making it suitable for adding flavoring or dimension; tofu is similarly powerful in its flavor and mouthfeel. However, warm cheese on bread is a grilled cheese sandwich, not a “cheeseburger”; lightly charred tofu, therefore, should not be forced to live up to the idea of a “tofuburger.”

..heh. When I was writing that paragraph, I kept thinking, “What is the best revision (in context) for sentence (k) in lines (c-f?)” and other SAT-ish questions.


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