Expo West, the largest natural and organic products tradeshow on the west coast, is in Anaheim this weekend. I’m there like i was last year, because I am running a booth as a favor for a friend, not because I am vegan, vegetarian, green, all-natural, and all-organic. See, stopping into Whole Foods Market to pick up dinner because it’s conveniently on my home is about as organic and earth-conscious as I get. But I do admit that the show has acres of interesting products; everything from ionic air purifiers to eco-friendly drain cleaners made of bacteria, from sea algae herbal supplements to every brand of low-carb-raw-natural-organic protein bar, from botanical bath and beauty (didn’t know there was such a thing as crystal deodorants) to mind-body balancing magnet mattresses. On my breaks from doing demonstrations of FIT fruit and vegetable wash, I get to walk the show, and of course, the best exhibit hall is food!
the natural and organic food exhibits are like a giant farmer’s market, with everything from raw ingredients like naturally crystallized sea salt and locally raised chickens, to fully cooked prepared meals like heat-and-eat all organic lasagne. i sample it all. i’ve definitely made too many visits to the guayaki yerba mate booth, which means i will be up for hours – damn those adorable guys in the booth pouring samples of that wicked tea!
FIT is in the veggie section, so i run around a lot trying all the vegan- and vegetarian-inspired food items. who knew you could do so many things with tofu?! it’s almost scary. the thing i don’t quite understand is why it’s often in disguise. helen’s kitchen had tofu meatballs in marinara, which definitely didn’t taste anything like a meatball. i think it’s just better to call it what it is: it’s a tofuball. why does it have to be a replacement for meat – can’t it just be tofu?
tofu has gone all-american. as much as non-vegetarians make fun of them, we’re all familir with tofuburgers, but the thing that was new to me was a tofu bratwurst. it very much looked like a brat, but it sure didn’t taste like a brat. it didn’t snap on the outside, and the texture was a little dry and gummy, which isn’t like tofu anyway. not sure if it’s already out there, but maybe tofurky (the brand) needs to re-work the recipe before hitting the market.
i love tofu, and grew up eating it in ma-po doo-boo (diced tofu braised in spicy sauce), soon doo-boo jjigae (spicy soft tofu hot pot), and as various types of bahn-chan (side dishes). i’m not a vegetarian (though, yes, i went through that phase as well - what can i say, i went to berkeley), so i don’t eat it as a replacement for animal protein; i just eat it because it’s tofu. all the interesting incarnations of tofu at the expo were creative, but at the end of the day, i’ll take tofu as it is, and eat a meatball made of meat.