Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
TVP, Real Food It Is
by SuSu, Csillag, MaceVindaloo

Menu: TVP Tips | TVP Chili | TVP Loaf

When the Younglings of the Jedi Temple are ready to become Padawans, they are at an important age, at least in terms of human maturity. Many are still growing and are starting to feel the urge to rebel against anything. It's the nature of "the coming of age," when things seem harder, more brilliant, more beautiful, and more tragic than in any other time of life. Later, the younglings will have wisdom to help them, but for now, they are just a pain in the collective Jedi butt!

Many of the young minds are starting to query the universe and their place in it, struggling to absorb the lessons of their masters and be selected as Apprentices. But they ached for the need to be recognized as individuals and so took joy in questioning and stumping their teachers. To help them through this time, Grand Master Yoda would allow the younglings and padawans to ask him and other masters questions during supervised meditations.

"Why do we subsist on food capsules and synth foodboards? Should we not be in tune to the Force and take only minimally prepared, natural ingredients into our bodies? Wouldn't that affect our connection to the Force?"

"Indeed, but think for a moment, not of the living Force, but of the larger matters, the universal Force," replied the masters. "In a world like Coruscant, would not insisting on fresh farmed produce not be more onerous than accepting synthboards? You have all done time in our hydroponic gardens; imagine having to feed yourself every meal. How much time would you have to train toward being a Jedi, if you had to grow and prepare everything you needed to subsist?"

"All things are part of the Force; just because they are 'alive' by some conventional definition does not make them less a part of our world and our reality," explained Mace Windu. "That is why on missions, we carry compact lightweight food rations, so as not to burden others with our needs. And when we are guests, we will partake in their food, no matter what it contains. Whether you eat grass, flesh, rocks, they are all part of the Force, as is courtesy, discipline, and respect!"

Master Yoda had the final say: "How so would other creatures suffer if not for the example of the Jedi," asked Master Yoda of the students. "Look at us, they do. Good enough for the Jedi it is, eat it I will, say they! The galaxy we save, for no food is beneath us, whether grown on soil it is, or large multiplanetary corporations engineered they are. TVP, real food it is!"

Years later, Luke Skywalker, as the founder of the New Jedi Order, would be undergoing these very same lessons, but his students were not rebellious younglings. They were adults with Force strengths and skills from a lifetime of living. Still, they struggled with the same questions as the young pre-teens, but they had to find the answers to the questions themselves. The answers would come easily when they themselves were the ones doing the acquisitions, cooking, cleaning, stocking, etc. And they came to appreciate the edible ingredient that made up the bulk of their rations because it was quick to prepare, low in fat and cholesterol, cheap, light, and easy to store.

Perhaps the Temple might have had fewer headaches if they'd taken Jedi from adulthood instead of infancy?

Meditation was over, and as a demonstration of the goodness of something like engineered meat substitute, guess what was prepared for lunch for both groups of Jedi?

Menu: TVP Tips | TVP Chili | TVP Loaf



TVP Chili
"TVP" stands for "textured vegetable protein" and its the result left of the soybean after the soy oil had been extracted. Its dried and sold as TVP, and it can be flavored to taste like ham, chicken, beef, etc. But its actually good on its own, but for meateaters, it's more successful if used in recipes where the meat is not the focus of the recipe.
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can diced chili tomatoes
  • 1 can water
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 1 tsp Vegeta seasoning mix
  • tsp ground pepper
  • 12 oz package Textured Vegetable Protein ground burger (frozen)
Sauté onion in the vegetable oil in a large saucepan till softened. Add all remaining ingredients. Stir to mix and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Servers 4 to 6.

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TVP Loaf
This is an example of "simulating real food" as the elder Jedi might put it, by combining the TVP with fresh and canned ingredients. Note that a binder is needed, like egg or egg substitute.
  • 12 oz / 350 g package frozen TVP (Boca brand is good)
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup cup egg substitute OR 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup ketchup OR barbecue sauce OR a mixture of both
Heat the oven to 350°F. Defrost the TVP in the microwave set on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs, onion, celery, egg, and half the ketchup and/or barbecue sauce and mix together. Stand for about 5 minutes for the TVP to absorb flavors. Pat the meat out onto a pieplate, then cover with the remaining ketchup and/or sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes. Serves 6.

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TVP Tips
  • TVP is sold dried or frozen; the "Boca" brand is already colored and flavored somewhat; though they claim to taste like "ground meat" (i.e. beef mince or hamburger), they don't, not really. But it does taste good; just don't assume it's an exact match.

  • When frozen, the TVP is often in pouches. It can be heated in the microwave with a hole pierced into the bag. Or the pouch can be opened and the contents dropped directly into soups, sauces, and stews. Heat till boiling, or simmer.

  • To defrost on the stovetop, drop into a non-stick or oiled skillet and heat with frequent stirring.

  • Dried TVP has an indefinite shelf life, and must be reconstituted before using, like dried mushrooms. To do so, put the dried TVP nuggets into a very large bowl and cover with three times more warm or hot water than there is TVP. Soak for about 20 minutes, stirring down once in a while. Squeeze out the excess water before using. Once hydrated, the TVP becomes perishable and should be treated as such.

  • TVP can be used as a meat extender or direct meat substitute. It does not have the same properties — for one, it doesn't stick together like raw meat does. It's more like cooked ground meat.

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