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Despite This We Stay for December 29, 2011

by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO — For the vegetarian-minded – someone who really wants to prepare the official vegetarian holiday meal – there exists tofurkey. Tofurkey is basically a big wad of squishy fake turkey meat made out of tofu, which is curdled soybean milk (and no, I don’t know where the milkers are on a soybean). Lucky for me, I have never seen tofurkey in any Huerfano County store. So the true vegan is out of luck if they are planning a big holiday bash featuring this concoction. Oh darn.
Forgive me, but I imagine tofurkey to not only look revolting, turning your stomach at the mere sight of it, but I expect it to taste even worse than the fried dandelion greens in vinegar sauce that my mom made me eat at the age of eight. I’m not saying it was bad or anything, but fried dandelion greens, just like headcheese and liver, are definitely an acquired taste. And I imagine tofurkey would be an acquired taste too, if someone sat on you and forced it down your throat. So I don’t really know what tofurkey tastes like, but I think I have accidentally stumbled upon something that is very similar to tofurkey.
Unfortunately, I happened upon this tofurkey-substitute after I purchased what I thought was a big, honkin’ package of turkey breast. The package said it was turkey breast meat, but I guess it didn’t actually SAY it was a turkey breast. And if I had stopped to think about it, I should have realized that 15 pounds is awful big for a turkey breast. But I was in a hurry, so I heaved the thing into my shopping cart and headed for the checkout. The first clue that something was amiss was when I removed it from its packaging. The color was pasty. The shape was squarish. This was NOT a turkey without arms and legs. This was processed turkey-breast-meat-product. This was like that cheap turkey lunchmeat, but about the size of a toilet bowl. Great news though, it was pre-cooked. Yum. At this point, it was way too late to go out and buy the real thing. So I roasted the processed turkey-breast-meat-product for a while – not that it needed to be roasted, but I was hoping that magically the heat would cause it to reshape itself into something that resembled turkey meat, rather than a giant wad of spam-like tofu with artificial turkey flavoring. It was hopeless.
Our guests that evening were very gracious, and they all ate some of the processed turkey-breast-meat-product. Surprisingly, no one went back for seconds. Now I just need to find recipes that call for leftover processed turkey-breast-meat-product. Maybe I’ll find something in the old-timers cookbook, next to the dandelion greens.

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