5/19/10

"Processed" soy

It always irks me when I see that term being tossed around casually. Why? For one thing, it makes the assumption that all processing is necessarily bad. For another, it makes the assumption that the processing is being done by someone over whom we have no oversight. I hope, in this post, to gently correct some of those assumptions, and maybe shed some light on things.

First and foremost is the assumption that all processing is necessarily bad. It's not. Processing is taking something in its raw state, and doing things to it to make it more palatable. Grinding coconuts in a blender with water, then squeezing out the milk is processing it. Cutting vegetables, soaking them in a vinegar-water-spice solution, then letting it ferment for a few weeks is extensive processing. You've changed the nature of the vegetable completely, you've created different chemical compounds in the surounding liquid, and you've massively extended the shelf life of said vegetable. Is that automatically a bad thing?

Another assumption is that all processing has to happen out of your eyes. This couldn't be further from the truth. We take raw ingredients (flour, vegetables, tofu, etc.), and make everything from scratch. That means that everything you see on the menu has been worked over by hand. So yes, the tofu goes through transformations. That's what makes tofu magical in the first place. But all of that "processing" goes on with the strict oversight of either Boss Man, myself, or Laura. Yes, it's processed soy, but it's our processed soy that we do ourselves.

What I'm trying to get at is that yes, we serve processed soy. But it's soy that we process ourselves, from the raw ingredients.
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