Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Kinder, Gentler Barbecue

Tonight sounded like a good night for barbecue. Some cool ghosty shows were coming on and I wanted something fun and simple. So, I made this:

Crock Pot Barbecue Tofu


2 containers firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
1 1/2 cups ketchup
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Simple enough. Reviews were mixed. My daughter and I thought it was okay, non-vegan hubby ate two sandwiches and youngest son loved it. If I were to make it again, I would use extra firm tofu and freeze it first to get a more chewy consistency. I had to buy firm because the grocery store was out of extra firm. I'd also half the red pepper flakes because everyone, other than my daughter who loves spicy stuff!, thought it was too spicy.

The next day I had a thought that it would be good over rice. I spooned some into my food processor, added a little water and made a slurry. Mixed it in with some leftover rice and liked it much better.

The origins of the word *barbecue* are, well, not interesting so much as curious. The most plausible theory states that the word "barbecue" is a derivative of the West Indian term "barbacoa," which denotes a method of slow-cooking meat over hot coals. Bon Appetit magazine blithely informs its readers that the word comes from an extinct tribe in Guyana who enjoyed "cheerfully spitroasting captured enemies." The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word back to Haiti, and others claim (somewhat implausibly) that "barbecue" actually comes from the French phrase "barbe a queue", meaning "from head to tail." Proponents of this theory point to the whole-hog cooking method espoused by some barbecue chefs. Tar Heel magazine posits that the word "barbecue" comes from a nineteenth century advertisement for a combination whiskey bar, beer hall, pool establishment and purveyor of roast pig, known as the BAR-BEER-CUE-PIG (Bass 313). The most convincing explanation is that the method of roasting meat over powdery coals was picked up from indigenous peoples in the colonial period, and that "barbacoa" became "barbecue" in the lexicon of early settlers. Due to the rather murky etymology of the term *barbecue*, and its constant association with meat, I'd like to find another word. Any suggestions?

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