What’s a Canola? 7 Mystery Foods, Exposed!
What’s really in spam, non-dairy whipped topping, and other edible enigmas
Even the most passionate whole food fanatic has probably consumed something of dubious nature at one point in time. In fact, many everyday items on grocery store shelves—and even in higher-end health food stores—are, on closer inspection, more enigmatic than they first appear. From tofu cream cheese (how does a block of wiggly tofu become spreadable, anyway?) to that canned wonder Spam, we asked Barb Stuckey, professional food developer at Mattson and author of Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good to reveal the truth behind seven foods that make you wonder (at least, they should).
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Buy a block of tofu and that’s exactly what you get: A quivering mass of compressed soy milk that’s easy sliced into sauté-able, grill-able, and bake-able rectangles, but not remotely possible to spread on a bagel. Yet tofu cream cheese has almost an identical texture to the real stuff. How? According to Stuckey, soymilk—the base of tofu—is essentially processed in much the same way as cheese. The wet portions are separated from the solids, a coagulant is added, and the remaining mixture is blended with oil (typically vegetable) to create a smooth texture.