Sunday, March 06, 2005

Bean 9 from Outer Space!

I've been convinced for years that soybeans are an alien substance. No other edible object can be made into as many different things as soybeans, and it's this diversity that freaks me out more than a little. The following is more a warning than a promotion.

Soybeans start out as beans, but they are far more than just vegetables. They can be baked and turned into soynuts. They are liquified into soy milk, and then that can be heated and curdled into tofu. Tofu is weird enough by itself because it comes in crazy colors like pink. And did I just say curdled? Normal dairy products are normally thrown away if they're curdled, aren't they? (The Wack-O-Meter is jumping...) But let's continue. There is also soy sauce, the most common condiment on Chinese food. A lot of vegetable oil used to make different foods is soy oil. Soy flour is ground roasted soybeans. And then, my favorite screwy adaptation is the meat alternatives like soy burgers. Go here for more details on soy foods.

(A side note: I always thought that vegetarians who made substitutes for meat products were cheating. If they say that people shouldn't eat meat, or it isn't natural, why do they make the substitutes? Stop cheating and do without, you hypocrites!)

So let's review. We have beans, milk, flour (for breads), and meat substitutes. That's ALL FOUR food groups! That's just not right. It's a freakin' bean! They were originally planted by little green men, I'm tellin' ya!

But wait there's more. At this site, they list some other applications for soybeans. They list real products for body & hair care, candles, cleaners, crayons, diesel fuel additives, fabric conditioner, paint removers, pens, polishes, solvents, furniture and waxes. Ye gods, it's a full scale invasion! It's like that old Saturday Night Live sketch: "New Shimmer is a dessert topping AND a floor wax! Mmm, tasty! And look at that shine!" There are some clever ideas, but several of the items in the list seem to me to be the result of bleeding-heart liberal tree-hugging lobbyist groups. I'm all for recycling and conservation, but sometimes it can go a little too far.

So next time you order a veggie burger on a soy flour bun with tofu and milk in a Chinese restaurant, get 'em to throw it all in a blender and puree it. It's all the same anyway. Just be sure to look for UFOs in the parking lot when you leave.

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