Friday, November 5, 2010

Why I Cook, plus Simple Tofu Scramble

If you ask me why I cook, I’ll tell you it’s not about food. Not really. I mean, I could probably survive on rice and lentils with no seasoning if I needed to. Or ramen. Or grass. Or McDonald's burgers and shakes. (Though if I went that route, I wouldn’t survive very long as my colon, along with every other organ in my body would run the risk of spontaneously combusting by the time I hit 30).

But cooking, for me, is not about survival. It sounds pretentious, but I know I’m a good cook. I have a decent knack for what flavours go together and how to season food. I love farmers markets and like adventure, so I try new vegetables and fruits and grains on a regular basis. If you bring me a vegetable, I’ll figure out something to do with it. And I like the quietness of the kitchen when I cook. The care and patience it takes to prepare that which nourishes us.

Cooking and sharing meals for me is just that: nourishment. And not just for our bodies. It is something I can share with the people I love, give the people I care about. Most of my friends work in some field of social justice or social welfare. The great majority are activists, counselors, non-profit workers, teachers and artists. They are the ones that choose to look society in the face and fight back. It’s not easy to look at the scars left on each other and our planet and not give up.

At the end of the day, I don’t believe anyone wants to go home to a TV dinner, even the vegan ones. “remove from wrapper, place in microwave for 5 minutes. Eat.” How very sterile and boring. At the core, I think what we want, and need, is connection. Anthony Bourdain says cooking should be taught in school, that it would make children more patient, appreciative, and in general, better people. I don't agree with Bourdain on much, as he can be a vegan's nightmare, but I will give him props for that statement.

I offer connection and nourishment to you when I cook. A thank you for being in my life, offering me your friendship and support. So stay in the kitchen with me and taste the process. Sit in a space with me and share what I have made. Good ingredients cooked well and good company make for good conversation shared, and it is for that simple connection that I cook. I should stop now before I sound anymore like an overdone Hallmark card.

Here is a simple little recipe I whipped up the other day to share. While it’s true there are thousands of ways to make a tofu scramble, sometimes simple is best.

Simple Tofu Scramble:

7 oz of Wildwood organic super firm tofu (2/3 of the package. This is not the sprouted tofu but the vacuum packed large block of tofu. I swear it exists)

1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
½ large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbs olive oil for cooking
1 cup gimmie lean soysage, shaped into ½ tsp size pieces (optional)

Crumble tofu in a medium mixing bowl and mix in pepper, onion, garlic, spices, and salt. In a large cast iron skillet, heat ½ Tbs olive oil. Throw the tofu mixture into the pan and start sautéing. Add soysage if you are using it, and sauté for 20 minutes, until onions are translucent and soysage starts to brown. Add more olive oil intermittently if needed.

Scoop into a pretty bowl (green is nice as it matched the green peppers) and top with the roasted potatoes (below). Pair with a nice cup of coffee and you’ll have a perfect start to your morning


2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, quartered and cut into ½” pieces
½ Tbs olive oil
1/8 tsp apple-wood smoked salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss all ingredients together, place in a glass casserole dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until potatoes are cooked and starting to brown and crisp

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20/40 min
Soundtrack: Avett Brothers- Country Was


  1. Also, i meant to ask YOU why you cooked...

  2. I dont cook. No that's wrong. I dont like to cook. I think it is because I have no one to cook for and because of that I dont have a lot of practice making food. On sundays I try to at least make myself something decent by using the crock pot, but making food for one you end up with a lot of waste sometimes and I dont like that either.

  3. I stand and offer you an ovation my lady...I cook for the exact same reason. Oh and I LOVE to eat...I guess that may have something to do with it. I love the experimental nature of cooking and baking, the art of creating something that is unique.