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Tofu… AKA Mom This one is for you…

International Flavors: Asia and the Middle East


Complete one, two or three of the following questions

  1. After completing the reading elaborate on the following quote by the author

“When a tofu master offers you a slice of bean curd he has just unmolded, he is inviting you to partake, insofar as a stranger can, of what it means to be Japanese.” (2 paragraphs)

Tofu has such an important place in not only the Japanese diet but also its traditions, that tasting hand made fresh tofu could be compared to eating a fresh loaf of bread from a traditional French bakery. Since here in America we don’t eat tofu nearly as much as the Japanese we don’t respect the subtle flavor differences and craftsman ship that goes into making true tofu. By eating the tofu you are eating an item that has been made the same way for centuries, and you are able to share in this idea of perfection.

Another idea behind this is the idea of the Japanese tea ceremony, which is said to take a lifetime to become a master. Each and every step of the tea ceremony means something, each way you place your hands and even they time you spend letting the tea steep has meaning. Tofu is the same way, they get soybeans harvested at a different time of the year to get the best flavor, they use only the purest spring water, and even the natural agents used for forming the tofu is gathered from a coral reef that is said to have the purest mineral quality. Each and every step of making tofu has a purpose and this purpose reflects the values of the Japanese people.


  1. Elaborate as to why “artisinal tofu” could be considered paradox (1 paragraph)

There are so many different types and ways to make tofu, just like there are so many ways to make bread. However since the people who would be considered to make “artisanal tofu” have been making tofu the same way for generations, and the techniques for making tofu have been passed down from one tofu master to the next, you could argue that tofu is not in fact an artisanal product. On the other side of the same coin artisanal is defined as a skilled craftsman or a handmade product and after reading over the article I would be surprised if anyone would argue that traditional Japanese tofu is anything other than handmade.

  1. After reviewing most of the dishes described in the reading and completing our assignments, readings and project lab on Japanese cuisine, how does the true flavor profile of tofu match perfectly with Japanese cuisine? (less than one paragraph)

The true flavor of tofu is light and earthy, with a subtlety that hints at a greater flavor. Because of this tofu reflects balance in Japanese cuisine and helps bring harmony to the dishes and meals it’s served with.


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One Comment on “Tofu… AKA Mom This one is for you…”

  1. leaf52 February 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Yeah! Thanks for an article on tofu!! Best part of tofu is its versality in taking on different flavors of the dish and the way it can be cooked for different consistencies. Plus of course it is a healthy protein option, especially if one starts with organic soybeans.

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