Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tofu for Sandwiches

I admit it- I can be a tad "bah humbugh-ish" regarding Christmas. It's really just a yearly Consumer Olympics. Retailers and shoppers alike perform all kinds of special feats to sell and buy. It's not that I don't like gift giving. I do. I just don't like it in mass quantities. Getting ready for Christmas becomes a series of a million different errands and chores, and I really don't like doing errands or chores- driving from here to there; in and out of the car; sitting in traffic; waiting in lines; making a lot of different decisions about what to get and where to get it; writing out cards; putting up lights and decorations. And the whole thing just gets so out of hand. When you're buying gifts for someone that maybe you don't spend that much time with, and really have no idea what they want, but you have to get them something so you get them a gift card, or you have to buy a generic gift for that Yankee Swap at the party you're going to, it kind of loses all it's meaning, doesn't it? If we really need this holiday to keep our retailers in business and keep the economy healthy, then I vote that it becomes mandatory that we only buy gifts for kids ages 18 and under, donate some clothes and food to a local shelter or family that is really in need, and we all go out in the month of December and buy ourselves a few things we've been wanting.

It is, however, great fun to find just the right gift for someone, and maybe something they wouldn't have bought for themselves, or vice versa to open a gift that you love, that someone picked out especially for you. And not something that you sent them the information for and told them exactly where to get it when they asked you what you wanted for Christmas. Something that they saw, and because they know you well, they knew you'd enjoy it.

I know I sound like an unthankful, horrible person, so it's a good thing no one reads my blog. I do appreciate all the gifts that my friends and family buy for me. And I think the idea of Santa Claus and creating that story for children is really a lot of fun. We have this big secret that everyone above the age of 10 is in on. It's great that we can keep that going. What frustrates me is the societal pressure around Christmas, and people doing things and spending money and going through the motions of certain traditions because they feel they have to do these things, even if they can't afford it and/or it causes a lot of stress for them.

Perhaps I would miss Christmas and all the hoopla if we were to no longer have it. It's not that I want to get back to the true meaning of Christmas, because I'm not a religious person. I just want to slow it down a bit, both in terms of pace and consumption. I heard somewhere recently that the average American consumes something like 700,000 calories in a year, and half of those calories are consumed from Thanskgiving to the New Year. Gross. And let me tell you, I've had my share of calories this month. (The aforementioned cookie swap really did me in.) Maybe something more along the lines of a Winter Solstice celebration with a little Santa mixed in would work for me.

A couple of weekends ago, I took the T into Harvard Square and roamed around the artisan fair they were having there, and poked in and out of stores. I did enjoy myself there without the traffic and mall parking lots. And I got a few gifts that I'm excited to give to people. I also got a great recipe. At one point, I was standing at an earring booth for about an hour staring at stuff. I finally felt compelled to tell the owner of the booth that I was not trying to steal anything, but that I was trying to choose gifts for four different people, and I was starving, so having a tough time. Instead of just nodding his head or something, he instead said, "You know, I'm hungry too. What are you hungry for?" I thought about it but couldn't come up with anything specific. He proceeded to describe the most delicious sounding sandwich to me which included tofu! I then asked him questions about how his tofu was cooked, and came home and made it immediately so I wouldn't forget. I ended up eating it, not on a sandwich, but on it's own, and really enjoyed it.
Anyway, I'm off to do some more Christmas shopping...

Fried Tofu with Nutritional Yeast
1 block of tofu, pressed to get most of the water out, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce or Bragg's liquid aminos in a bowl
1/2 cup nutritional yeast in a bowl
1/4 cup canola oil

1. Dredge each slice of tofu in the soy sauce, and then in the nutritional yeast.
2. Sautee in oil on medium to medium high heat until brown on both sides.


Cathy said...

FYI - I read your blog ;-). And I happen to agree with you about the commercialism and stress of the holiday. I think we all need to step it down a few notches.

Cathy said...

Oh - and about the tofu sandwiches? I'll pass ;-)

Michele said...

Thanks for reading, and thank you for your comment. I won't even try to push the tofu sandwiches on you, but how about tofu "meat"balls? I think I'm making those tonight. :)