Tofu “Meatballs”

High Park, November

I have a dreadful recipe book, called The Frugal Cook or somesuch thing. It’s usually a bad sign when I pull it off the shelf.

It practically opened right up to the tofu meatball page. Which is uncanny, since there was a leftover 1/2 block of tofu in my fridge. If I didn’t get to it that night it would turn on me, and rather aggressively at that.

The entire doomed process took half an hour, including making a (rather tasty, if I do say so myself) tomato sauce, and a steaming tangle of wholewheat spaghetti.

There they were, tiny balls of tofu-ey yucchiness, fried into submission. I felt I had a responsibility to those tofuballs. Onto the delicious pasta with tomato sauce and parmesan they went.

They were oddly sweet and oddly bitter, and their texture resembled cottage cheese. Remember cottage cheese? It was the diet food of my adolescence.

I ate around the sinister beige golf balls and occasionally took a tiny bite. It’s like I was ten and had a hippie mama in a hemp dress and a patchwork apron standing over me wielding a bat. I finally left most of them on my plate. The rest of the tofuballs went to their inevitable compost grave.

November. Marking, meetings, brain like mush. Not the best month for cooking, but a girl’s gotta stay healthy.

What do you cook/eat/takeout when you’re in the weeds?


  1. Come now. I’m sure you’re exaggerating for dramatic effect. Your tofu balls can’t have been that bad. You’re a good cook and you’re bigger than a bean curd. Maybe you’re just resistant to tofu right now and that’s why you’re letting it go bad or nearly go bad on you. Here’s a question: what does tofu represent? And it’s not just because I’m dating a psychotherapist that I have managed to come up with such an insightful question. I had this thing for a while that I was letting ginger fester and go blue on me at the bottom of the fridge until I realized that it represented my desire to cook more asian food and recapture the amazingness of my years living in asia. The ginger wasn’t just getting up and mincing itself into all kinds of Thai and Korean dishes, so I gave up and just stopped buying it.

    When I’m in the weeds, and I have never confessed this to anyone, I whip into Loblaws on my way home and make off with their pre-made sushi for $9.98 and I eat it in the car with my fingers as I drive home. So that being said, your attempt to cook at home, no matter how it turned out, is admirable at the very least.

  2. Eggs. I live on eggs and fried bread when I can’t do anything else. Fried bread = toast, made in a pan, with too much olive oil or butter to be really justified.

    If I can pull it together long enough – macaroni and cheese, from the box (the white kind, not the nuclear orange kind), with sundried tomatoes and extra herbs thrown in for a kick. And lots of red pepper.

    Also, my in-the-weeds comfort drink of choice? Chocolate almond milk.

  3. Jamie,
    Thanks for the encouraging words. I like your Freudian approach. I am comforted by the fact that you, such a committed foodie, occasionally commit acts of fast food trangression.

    I love the addition of sundried tomatoes to mac&cheese from the box! Is that thinking outside or inside the box?

  4. Man, my grandmomma was from Sicily and she made the most delicious meatballs I ever tasted, like you had died and gone to meatball heaven. Sadly, she didnt leave a recipe for us so I’ve been trying to figure it out on my own… slowly working my through the meatball recipes here, I still cant figure out what her secret ingredient was though!!!

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