Tri-tip or Tofu? Two cultures over two main courses
Breanna Fields and Gregory D. Cook, Reporters
May 2, 2012
Filed under Opinions
The mouthwatering taste of sautéed tofu with a blend of seasonings is something that can be enjoyed by veggie folk and meat eaters alike. For all of those who oppose and would much rather be eating a thick piece of steak (cow morsels, to be accurate) right now, I urge you to continue reading. There won’t be any propaganda in the words that follow, just the truth.
In the society that we live in, our lifestyles can either make or break our financial state. There’s this immediate response from those who consume meat in two areas: cost and nutrition a.k.a. the over-used “how do you get protein?” It’s as if this thing called protein exists only in the corpse of an animal. This is certainly not the case, as nutritionists would be quick to confirm.
People consume a substance like steak for three reasons: habit, taste and tradition. In this generation, should we not be the ones to break free from this standard way of thinking? After all, breaking boundaries often does involve setting aside (if not completely disregarding) tradition. My friends, the answer is right in front of us in the form of tofu. It can go with just about any dish you wish to use it in and the options are limitless.
There’s fried tofu, tofu patties, tofu ravioli, tofu salad, tofu quiche, tofu sloppy Joes, vegan pumpkin pie (with tofu), tofu pizza, and the list goes on. It can be made as a dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner or eaten as a healthy snack item.
It’s not just available in health food stores. It can be found at Lassen’s and Trader Joe’s, but for those who want to stick with their usual store chains, you can also purchase it at Albertsons and Vons.
The cost is noticeably less than that of steak or any other meat for that matter (note: starving college students should consider this option as a wallet-friendly approach). It costs about $3 for a package that can make at least two meals. Mori-Nu is a popular organic brand of tofu that can be combined with a number of sauces and vegetables to make an exquisite stir-fry.
On the nutrition side of things, tofu contains low calories and fat. It’s an excellent food source for protein and iron.
Now for those of you out there who care about innocent beings (don’t tune out just yet), we all know that steak is derived from an animal. People typically like to think they know it already, the whole animal rights side of the story, but if that were the case, why aren’t more people listening?
Let me take you back to the beginning: habit, taste and tradition. According to the American Heart Association, one of the leading causes of death is…well, heart disease. Consuming meat can lead to increased cholesterol because of its high fat content. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. The consumption of animal products can also lead to heart problems due to the fact that they contain drugs, hormones and pesticides.
The next time you go to the grocery store, picking up a package of tofu would be in your best interest for both health and taste purposes. For all those who oppose, well, you’ve been informed.
Whenever someone begins to get preachy with me about how horrible it is to eat meat and suggests that a nice piece of tofu would be just as good, I just smile and show them those nice pointy teeth we all have in the corners of our mouths.
They are called canines, and they are there for the sole purpose of eating meat; tender, succulent meat.
When it comes to satisfying that inner carnivore, coagulated soy milk can’t hold a basting brush to a well-prepared tri-tip.
Just the thought of that hunk of beef, sizzling on the grill, with the smell of hickory smoke mixing with charred drippings gets the mouth watering and stirs memories of summer barbecues and tailgating parties.
When the knife cuts through that seared crust, exposing the tender red meat bursting with juices, it’s more than just cooking.
It’s a cultural event that defines us at the top of our food chain like no other food can. I hesitate to think what a steaming heap of bean curd says about us.
I would imagine John Wayne was not a big tofu eater. In fact, one of the Duke’s favorite foods was chili, cooked up with meaty chunks of tri-tip steak.
Massage it with rubs, bathe it in marinades, slather it in sauces, or just enjoy its rich natural flavor, it’s hard to go wrong with the versatile tri-tip.
If I could make a recommendation, the tri-tip sandwiches that Bakersfield College cooks up at many of its sporting events are just little chunks of heaven on a roll. Sorry, I don’t remember seeing any tofu sandwiches on the menu.
Nutritionally speaking, the tri-tip is one of the better cuts of beef as well. It is lower in fat than many other cuts, and the proteins you get from eating meat are more complete than those that come from vegetables, making meat a better choice for building and maintaining healthy muscle tissue.
Now I’m not going to lie, eating 10 pounds of tri-tip every day is probably not the healthiest of diets, no matter how good it tastes, but that can be said for just about any food.
The key is to eat a well-balanced diet that is rich and diverse.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one thing to be aware of with tofu and soy products in general is that while they are high in iron, a necessary mineral for the body, they also contain substances that block the body’s absorption of iron, that can result in anemia if too much is consumed.
So roast it, barbeque it, grill it, cook it on the rotisserie, or chop it up into steaks and braise it, but most of all, celebrate it for what it truly is, not just a food, but as a part of who we are as Americans.
Anyway, tri-tip goes a lot better with ice-cold beer than a chunk of bean-curd cheese would, no matter how you cook it.
I guess I should say at least one good thing about tofu. If you spice it up just right, you can make it taste a little like tri-tip, but only a little.