Sometimes I press tofu with a volume of Charles Bukowski’s collected poems.
In the refrigerator, tofu sandwiched between two plates, book teetering on the pinnacle.
Husband peers in to find Charles’ pock-marked face, his hefty words mighty & bearing down. If I use “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, my beloved dishes his disappointment.
I’m the sole proprietor of tofu. Smashing, marinating, dehydrating, intermingling with vegetables soaked in sauces yielding from continents breaching far off.
Sometimes when I’m spiraling out, left floating in the frothy aftermath of disquiet, I watch a video on YouTube called “This grandma making tofu from scratch.”
In a fuchsia coat swims a kind-faced grandma, arms fatigued from lifting beans in a basket. She smashes soybeans to milk with a massive, spinning stone that her grandson helps whirl.
He stokes the hearth as grandma’s hands are compelled to task, discerning digits, the recipe’s steps notorious to her fingers, like the moss’ familiarity with the tree bark’s furrow.
Sometimes I ponder the early American botanists. Men discovering, naming, pressing botanical specimens. Men forever claimed dominion over designation & flattening of the delicate things.
Ben Franklin called the foreign pods “Chinese garavances” in his London letter to John Bartram. He penned his thoughts and packed a little parcel to be scuttled across the cannonballed mire.
That letter begat sprouting of tofu knowledge in the early Republic. Bean stalks clinging the walls of Kingsessing, knowingly savvy curds, infiltrating through each outstretched tendril.
This Side of Madness with Samuel T. Phillips
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