I hate fictional and/or memoir things that claim to be a short history of something peripheral to the author's main point, that his/her uncle was having an affair with his/her father and/or mother. I do not know the history of tofu, short or long but I do know I like it. And like so many things it gets totally up my nose when people make snide remarks about tofu no-one would think of making about, you know, nougat as though tofu stood for something that went beyond its reality as a food. I happen to really like tofu.
If you want a short history of my history of tofu, I can't give it to you because I don't remember even when I was first introduced to it. I certainly don't ever recall thinking of it as an acquirable, or acquired, taste. It can't be anyway really I suppose as it doesn't have much of a taste, but like a lot of good bread, its texture complements a taste, doesn't it.
I do recall: working in health food in 1985 and having to sell this non-dairy icecream called just something very plain like, Tofu Ice Cream (not tofutti which I think came later). I do remember then that many customers would say to me, 'What is tufo?' i.e. the word was so unfamiliar to them they had never even heard it before and in fact so unfamiliar they had read it wrong. I also remember at this time at least one person I related the 'tofu ice cream' concept to, not in the workplace but a cohabitant, saying 'TOE-FOOD? Is that something you feed your toes with?' People are so contemptible when they don't know what's going on.
But it would not have been much later that I was told of a friend's taste for raw tofu on toast with melted cheese on top. The reason I mention this is that I think I might have become inured to the idea of tofu as some kind of cheese substitute. Not that I would necessarily use it that way, but that others usually did. And if you ate tofu you probably weren't that into dairy.
Another grouse thing about tofu is what it comes from, the soybean. I like:
Red bean drink you get in japanese restaurants - is that soybeans?
Soy milk - the only milk I drink as other milk makes me feel queasy
Soy sauce - I was thinking this morning when it became more acceptable to refer to soy milk as 'soy' rather than using that shorthand to refer to 'soy sauce'. I think that must have happened around the late 1990s
Soybeans you get in japanese restaurants, in the shell, you know
AND SO ON ETC