The Great History of Tofu

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With the great role that tofu plays in our lives, we sometimes forget the great journey that brought us here. Such a common occurrence in our lives, no thought is given to how hard it was to get to this point. But that all changes today. Today, the Tofu Database will look back on the wonderful history of everyone's favorite soy product. I am aether48, and I will be your guide through the History of the Bean.

Our journey starts in the year 2000 B.C. The Fertile Crescent, a prosperous region in what is now the middle east, had begun to tire of grains and meat. Lord Ashur-Nirari the Second had even gone as far as issuing a bounty of one hundred and twenty cows for whoever could discover a new form of food. Some looked to the cows, wondering what could be done with their milk. Others tried to catch birds, but to no avail. One brave soul slaughtered a horse and gave its meat to the Lord, but was executed for the disrespect.

According to Cuneiform transcripts recovered by our leading scientists, one man named Antosolli stood out from the rest of the searchers. A retired farmer, he knew all the places that had been explored before, and had a leg up finding things that hadn't. As soon as the bounty was issued, he rushed to the deep caves by his home to find a certain seed.

Deep in the earth was the remnants of a great glacier, which had formed the Tigris river when it melted. But Antosolli knew that not all of it was gone. Down in the caverns, he extracted from the permafrost a single seed.

After carefully defrosting his prize, and repairing it with other plant materials, he buried it in the best soil he could find. Watering daily, carefully controlling its sunlight intake, the seed slowly sprouted into something new. A bean. A soybean.

After spreading this new crop in secret, and experimenting with how it could be shaped, Antosolli discovered perfection. He called it "toso," the successor to our modern tofu. After showing it to Ashur-Nirari, he was awarded 120 cows and lived the rest of his life peacefully.

2000 years later, in the Han dynasty, one of Antosolli's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren had an idea. The recipe for toso had been passed down for generations, even as those from the fertile crescent migrated northeast. But it had never been changed.

This woman, Chen Fu, believed that if the flavor from the soybean were extracted and purified, it could be even better. By squeezing out blocks of toso, she created soy sauce. This miracle liquid powered the dynasty's army for an entire decade before it was revealed that the salt was harmful. However, Chen Fu had made her mark on history. Soy sauce would go on to be a staple of Asian food, and the newly formed "tofu" has been the greatest source of food ever since.

Today, tofu has been shown to have many more beneficial properties than was originally expected. It's filling, it's good for dieting, and it's delicious! But with all we have today, sometimes it's easy to forget what brought us here.
So, the next time you pick up a block of tofu, think of Antosolli, and be grateful for your ancestors.

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