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Tofurky: Torture for Vegetarians on Thanksgiving


I’ve never been able to get myself to prepare a Thanksgiving Tofurky. Despite the fact that I don’t think that every meat tradition needs to be shaped into a soy ball version, I decided this year it was time to try a Tofurky out to see what they are all about.

Let’s just say that the results of this little experiment were not at all positive. I have confirmation of this less than stellar review from a guest poster, as well. But, before I get to that, to cook Tofurky is to know them, and I’m here to educate.

Little did I know that the Tofurky is actually a hard creature to capture. In its natural habitat, you can see the Tofurky in vast open spaces traveling alone (look carefully, he blends in with his surroundings)…

or, smelling the flowers.

As pensive and introverted creatures, you can also find them enjoying quiet moments on park benches basking in the sun.

Although their only known predators are few – vegans, vegetarians and omnivores that think they are doing their vegetarian/vegan guests a favor by cooking one at Thanksgiving – they still frighten easily. They will hide at the least provocation.

On a bright sunny November I was able to sneak up on an elusive Tofurky once he stopped to take a drink.

After a few moments giving the Tofurky hunting call, I was able to bag him (using a canvas shopping tote) and then stored him in the fridge until I had time to prepare him. I was lucky, I got a stuffed one!

Soon, it became time to prepare my soy beast. How exciting, it was time to bust into the box and say “hello” to the hunted soy creature.

Check out its underside!

Eyes wide and heart racing, I opened the box. But, the Tofurky had one more surprise for me…I had to make it through the inner packaging.

I got my sharp knife out as the Tofurky has not only a protective plastic coating but also some sort of medieval fastening mechanism that the faint of heart shouldn’t have to wrestle.

Slowly the wrapping came off.

And, lo, there it was in all it’s glory…the nekkid tofurky which was met with, “My, doesn’t that look appetizing,” from my dubious kitchen apprentice.

Undaunted, I dove into preparing the “bird” per package intstructions: 2 potatoes quartered, 1 onion quartered, 2 large carrots cut in half, then cut into 2 inch pieces. The Tofurky was gently placed in the tin foil and surrounded by the vegetables. (Another option is to place it in a casserole dish with a tight cover.)

I prepped one of two brines suggested on the box = 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon crushed fresh sage. (I instead used a combo of rosemary and thyme.) And, then poured one half of the brine on the “bird” an the vegetables.

After the brine bath it was time to cover everything up and place it into a 350 degree oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. (At this point, my kitchen did have a nice smell due to the stuffing cooking away…)

[2]After time elapsed, uncover the “bird”, put the second half of the brine on it, leave uncovered and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Carve thinly, and serve with a brown gravy.

So, what did I think of this creation? Meh.

Seriously. It was just what I thought it was going to be –  a big giant hunk of compressed soy. But, let me let my guest poster more accurately describe it:

Let’s face it.  I’m lucky.  Super lucky, in fact.  I’m the go-to second opinion for Veggin’, and this means I normally get to fill myself with veggie deliciousness.  This means that no matter how unlikely a combination sounds as it’s presented, I’m a willing and able taste-tester, looking forward to the result.

Except now I feel like maybe I was a victim.  And I didn’t even know it, at first.  I mean, the slab of soy with a bit of stuffing seemed a bit much, but hey, Veggin’ Megabeth knows what she’s doing, right?  So I tried it, and it was fine enough.  Not in any way that made me want to tell anyone about it, but it was edible.  Plus, I was hungry, so I had a second slab.  “Slab”.  You see that word, right? It’s important, because that’s what I felt like I had in my stomach for the next 24 hours.  Two slabs of something.  That left room for nothing else.  And not in that satisfied way.

Too.much.soy.  I now understand the concept.  I guess I can thank Tofurky, and, uhh, Veggin’ Megabeth for this valuable lesson.  I’m off eat some greens, now.


The In-House Taste-Tester

I will not be purchasing another Tofurky. I’ve been there, done that and will stop hunting this soy beast. Meanwhile, I will sadly shake my head as well-meaning omnivores scoop up these “birds” for vegetarians that will be joining them at their Thanksgiving table. It’s a novelty, for sure, but pass me the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, please.