I must disclose to you two pieces of information about my snow peas meal before we get started: 1) I ate the peas, I liked them, I won them; and 2) I gagged, retched, and fought back puke all the way through dinner.
For those of you who follow the blog as irregularly as I write it, this was the snow pea scenario: Lauren promised to make Wicked Good Peanut Butter Snow Pea Tofu to help me win the last of my battles with peas. All I heard when she was telling me about it was peanut butter peanut butter peanut butter peanut butter peanut butter, which is probably my most favorite food in the universe after chocolate cake, and cheese, and biscuits, so we had no doubt I would leave her house a winner Monday night. We were right. Mostly.
All day Monday Lauren and I planned and schemed and chatted and plotted. She reminded me that this would be the first time she was serving dinner at her new dining table, so it was a super big deal, and then she said, “Reminder: It’s pajama night.” If anyone were to ever ask me what I love most about my life, I would say it’s that my friends never require me to wear pants.
When I got to Lauren’s, she had already begun to set everything out for me to examine and photograph, so I could watch her cook it and maybe re-create it myself one day, but also so I would know she wasn’t sneaking onions in without my knowledge. She’s a great friend that way. Burlesque Beth—who is some kind of fancy pants cook and gave me the awesome pepper pasta meal that really brought home pepper week—joined us for dinner and promptly launched into enumerating the varieties of onions trying to find one I’ll eat. This again? While Beth was buzzing about onions (and triumphing when I admitted to liking garlic), I was scrutinizing Wicked Good Peanut Butter Snow Pea Tofu’s ingredients. I’m sure you will not be surprised to learn the main ingredients are peanut butter, snow peas and tofu. I, on the other hand, had been conveniently overlooking the part about tofu because of that one bit about only hearing peanut butter peanut butter peanut butter peanut butter peanut butter. But then there it was. Tofu. Staring me right in the face. A big block of glop sandwiched between two plates, because, as Lauren explained, the glop juice had to be pressed out of it. Vomit.
Let’s talk about tofu. Puke. Remember how I started this project because I don’t eat vegetables? Because I’m a meat-and-potatoes girl through and through? I say this because as a meat-and-potatoes girl, one thing I’ve never, ever had reason to eat is tofu, because A) I get plenty of protein from natural protein sources, like meat, and B) it seriously makes me want to carve my tongue out of my face. I hope my granddaddy is out there reading this right now and finally assured that I am not bucking my heritage with this project. I fucking hate tofu. G.Daddy, tofu, vomit.
Lauren assembled all the parts for Wicked Good etc and it smelled amazing. Because it was mostly peanut butter. The color began to come back into my face and we sat down to a beautifully arranged table.
I took my first bite of Peanut Butter Blah Blah Blah and it was fine. No problem. Lovely even. Because I love peanut butter. Success! But then Burlesque Beth said, that doesn’t count, you have to eat a pea by itself. Grrr Beth. So. I. Finally. Ate. A. Fucking. Snow. Pea. I feel like it’s been quite a journey for all of us and whether I liked the pea or not we should just pat ourselves on the back for crossing this finish line.
And it wasn’t bad! It was sweet and the crunch didn’t make me fall over dead like I was sure it would. I was so excited I actually picked out most of the rest of the peas and ate them by themselves, too (rather than risk eating tofu). But while I was happily congratulating myself on winning snow peas—which was the whole point of Wicked Good Peanut Butter Snow Pea Tofu night, BY THE FUCKING WAY—a conspiracy against me was brewing at Lauren’s pretty table.
Lauren and I were in our own little world at our end of the table talking about and experiencing a deep connection over the single most unifying topic perfect for any dinner party conversation anywhere, anytime: cheese. Your dinner party getting off course because someone is talking religion or politics? That is probably because you’re all wearing clothes and not pajamas, but the best way to get back on track is to start talking about cheese. Try it. I’m right about this one. So engrossed was I in my conversation with Lauren that I had almost forgotten I was eating tofu, and I almost didn’t hear Beth say, “You know, tofu is really just vegetable cheese.”
Then she went on to state her case about why tofu is so obviously the cheese of vegetables.
Then Lauren said, it’s not that bad, just try one bite by itself like you did with peas. I was not nearly as inclined to do this. It was snow pea night. Not tofu night. It will never be tofu night. Tofu is not a vegetable. Nor is it cheese.
But tofu is kind of like a vegetable, since it’s made of vegetables, so technically, you should have to eat it, they reasoned.
I’m running out of ways to describe the ways in which my body was reacting to this conversation. It was foul. I just wanted them to stop. Please stop saying the word, please stop talking about vegetable cheese, please stop, please for the love of all things holy, make it fucking stop.
So anyway, I ate a piece of tofu.
I have no recollection of the five to 10 seconds it took to spear with my fork the microscopic piece of spongy grossness, escort it to mouth and swallow, because I’m pretty sure I passed out for a minute, but I’m told I had a horrific, pained look of misery on my face.
I lost vegetable cheese. Fortunately for me, it wasn’t on the fucking list.