The tofu is soft. She has the high-fat content of silk, she is only a pudding. Some of her cousins were pressed into harder stuff than she ever was. Who chose that, she wondered? They’d all grown up together that year, a crop in the muddy field together, yellow black and brown, all round. Every year their brothers and sisters grew up in the mud under grey skies, were picked, plucked, boiled, ground, drowned and pressed. Some went on to be hard, destined for deep frying, destined to be textured with dimples and served to be as strong as meat, bursting with protein – pound for pound more than minced beef. These tofus faced a hard but honourable life.
Was it better, Silk Tofu wondered, to be treated and rendered gently? Drowned in rich milk, not chemically laced water? Pressed gently and smoothly, in a way that left her skin like silk; none of these acne pockmarks suffered by her harder, less fortunate sisters? They dressed her silk skin in fine, sweet syrups of ginger, or on less extravagant days, miso and spring onions. Sometimes all her fat was stirred up until she became a soft, soft pudding. Those days were the best and the worst, when all the richness of her beans overcame her solid protein structure and she became a quivering, curdling jelly. She was the biggest jelly curd in town.