Perhaps the world can be divided in two: those who love tofu and those who hate it. Frankly I don’t understand how anyone can hate something so benign. Tofu, a form of soybean curd, is mild and creamy and a tremendously versatile ingredient. I’ve made chocolate mousse with tofu, dips with tofu, entrees with tofu and even a delicious salad that had an Asian style vinaigrette and slivers of celery.

Regardless of how you feel about it, the tofu haiku contest is open to you. And admit it, just saying “tofu haiku” is appealing, kind of like a greeting in a foreign language.

Tofu, which is pronounced slightly differently in Chinese and Japanese can be soft like custard, firm and dry or almost liquid-like in texture. It absorbs flavors easily so it can be used in many ways. Marinating it will infuse it with flavor as will cooking it in a sauce. It is rich in protein, making it a favorite of some vegetarians, it is also a good source of Vitamin B and iron.

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry arranged in three lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables and then 5 syllables. It is supposed to evoke a sense of season, be written in present-tense and juxtapose two images, marked by a turning point.

Here’s one I wrote:

white as winter snow
creamy tofu sits silent
then disappears like springtime

More examples are available with the contest rules. Bottom line? The judges are looking for great poems about you-know-what.

Sponsored by the Toronto Vegetarian Society, the contest offers a myriad of tofu and non-tofu prizes.

Over at Cooking with Amy is my recipe for Tofu and Celery Salad

Food & Poetry Contest 11 April,2007Amy Sherman

  • Michael Procopio

    Okay Amy, here’s my contribution…

    Soft like a woman.
    Good for cancer prevention,
    But makes men grow breasts.

    Do you think I stand a chance of winning?

  • Alan Summers

    I’m afraid not, Michael is more of a purist than I am, but man breasts is something I haven’t seen in a haiku before, so well done! 😉

    I suppose I could subvert a haiku of mine into soy, tofu, isn’t it the same? 😉

    restaurant el tofu
    the smoky cat’s
    four white gloves

    p.s. Michael Dylan Welch is the judge, but please do have a go!


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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