Happy Independence Day to all! This week we’ve got a summer recipe from Julie Wan, plus a reflection on meat-eating from Washington Post writer Bina Venkataraman.
Japanese Chilled Tofu (Hiyayakko)
by Julie Wan
Here is a simple and light dish for these sweltering days of summer. Serve it with rice and a stir-fry of garlic and spinach or other greens, and it makes for a very easy weeknight meal.
This must be made with silken tofu for the creamiest of textures. Various toppings will work, but even at its most basic, as below, it is completely satisfying without weighing you down on a hot day.Read more: Chilled Tofu . . . and “Guilt-Free” Meat?
- 1 14-oz block of silken tofu
- 1 stalk of scallion
- soy sauce or tamari, 2 Tbsp or to taste
- lemon juice, 2 Tbsp or to taste
1. Drain the tofu and set in a shallow bowl or high plate.
2. Cut the scallion into roughly 2” pieces. Then slice those pieces lengthwise as thinly as possible so they resemble fine threads. Soak the scallion in ice water for a few minutes. This will take the bite out and also firm them up into crisp, thin curls. Drain, and give them another quick rinse in cold water to make sure all the sliminess is gone. Drain well and set aside.
3. Mix the soy sauce and lemon juice in a bowl. Pour the mixture over tofu. Top with the scallion threads.
You can take this dish up a notch or two by replacing the lemon juice with yuzu juice, adding a bit of lemon or yuzu zest, and grating some ginger over top.
Other topping ideas include toasted sesame seeds, grated daikon, herbs (shiso, cilantro), toasted sesame oil, yuzu kosho (Japanese citrus chili paste), rehydrated seaweed like wakame (the kind in miso soup), or crumbles of toasted nori. I will also often throw on some edible flowers from the garden, a perfect nod to summer.
Octopuses and You
Here’s a statement worth pondering from an opinion piece in the July 3 Washington Post. The author, Bina Venkataraman, begins by noting that a lot of people have stopped eating octopus in the light of new knowledge about cephalopod intelligence. She continues:
“The spare-the-cephalopod trend is probably not a sign of growing elitism but rather the latest in a line of contortions that people of conscience go through to make sense of eating animals. The reasons behind the impulse to draw boundaries around meat-eating are clear: Thanks to neuroscience and muckraking, we know more today than ever before about the pain and suffering of animals, especially in factory farms. We’re aware of livestock’s major contribution to the worsening climate crisis. We’ve seen the decimation of wild species such as cod and bluefin tuna that suit our taste. And yet many people still get pleasure and nourishment from eating meat, and, globally, the taste for it is on the rise.”
Venkataraman points out that intelligence shouldn’t be the criterion for sparing animals (as one of the original animal-rights philosophers, Jeremy Bentham, wrote: “The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”). She goes on to critically examine the many and varied justifications that people (including herself) use for still eating meat occasionally. She also focuses on the development of “lab-grown meat” as a way of addressing the still-prevalent taste for meat among many humans.
Venkataraman concludes, “In the future, people might look back on meat-eating much the way we view cannibalism and human sacrifice. For now, we’re muddling across a messy middle terrain. Humanity is awakening to the immorality of eating animals, but customs, taste and economic incentives have yet to catch up.”
The piece is well worth a careful read. We here at Living Vegan! would only add: If it is indeed true that eating animals is immoral, shouldn’t Christians be in the forefront of those who are trying to change that?
Keep the Recipes (and Shopping Tips) Coming!
We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe or shopping tip each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good!