Benjamin Franklin could be considered a true renaissance man. In his seemingly awesome life, he was an author, journalist, diplomat, scientist, founder of a country and an adventurer, among other things.
During one of his trips to London, he was introduced to a cheese made of soybeans. His excitement at having discovered this “Tau-fu” prompted him to send his friend, John Bartram in Philadelphia, some soybeans along with the recipe on how to make it. And thus, tofu was introduced to America in 1770.
Franklin, a vegetarian most of his life starting at age 16, had the following to say about a vegetable diet,
My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chided for my singularity, but, with this lighter repast, I made the greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension. Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.
Even when he decided to start eating fish, it weighed on his conscience.
So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.
It is almost like an addict who, knowing better, will still choose to feed his addiction to the detriment of his values. No one is perfect and while people stray from their values, the great capacity we have as people is to correct ourselves where we have stumbled.
OK, back to tofu; soy products have been criticized heavily for their adverse health effects and while there is some data to show that more than FIVE servings a day might do more harm than good, soy, on the whole, is a pretty healthy food, especially when compared to animal protein. Besides, East Asians have been consuming tofu and other soy products for centuries and have been doing really well.
Anyway, next time you are enjoying tofu with friends and family, they might find it interesting as to how tofu was introduced the the Americas.
Source: Mother Nature Network