A Modest Proposal: “Victory Tofu”

America needs all-tofu school lunches, subsidized tofu pizza, a Tofutti ice-cream substitute campaign… and more. I figure 205.4 pounds of tofu per American should do the trick. The situation facing American soybean farmers is dire, as shown below.

Figure 1: PPI for soybeans, by calendar year (blue, left scale), end-of-crop year soybean stocks, in millions of bushels (red, right scale). Source: BLS via FRED, and USDA ERS, WASDE May 2019. 

End crop year 2018/19 (Sep 30 2019) soybean stocks estimated at 995 million bushels, 798 million bushels below end crop year 2015/16. April PPI for soybeans 16.6% below April 2018.

Suppose we wanted to restore stockpiles to end 2015/16 levels (May WASDE estimates for end 2019/20 levels is 975 million bushels, even before the latest round of escalation between Trump and Xi). In order to calculate what has to be done in terms of enhanced domestic consumption, one needs the following parameters.

Each bushel yields 48 lbs of protein. Each pound of tofubeans requires yields about 1.75 pounds of bean protein tofu (1.9 lbs tofu per 1.1 lb protein is the recipe).

  800 mn bu × 48 lbs protein/bu × 1.75 lbs tofu/lb protein = 67.2 bn lbs tofu

To calculate the requisite elevated per capita consumption, one needs US population, which equals 327.2 million.

  67.2 bn lbs tofu / 327.2 million persons = 205.4 lbs tofu/person

I’ve not been able to determine current US per capita consumption, but I suspect an additional 205.4 lbs/capita per year seems implausible.

Mr. Trump stated today we are winning against China. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

31 thoughts on “A Modest Proposal: “Victory Tofu”

  1. pgl

    That was painful to listen to. The US is doing great and China is doing horribly. But wait – they are stealing $500 billion a year from us treating us very unfairly. Trump just babbles incoherent gibberish. It is almost as bad as reading your standard CoRev rant!

  2. pgl

    Interesting data on U.S. soybean exports to China:


    In 2012 this figure reached $14.9 billion and near $14.5 billion in 2014 and $14.2 billion in 2016. But notice what happened after that. U.S. exports of soybeans fell below $12.6 billion in 2017 and was just over $3 billion in 2018. Of course CoRev assures us Trump had nothing to do with this decline as it was all due to weather related factors like Global Warming I guess!

  3. Moses Herzog

    There’s some distasteful jokes, usually told among white males who like to consider themselves macho (I belong to the white male club, sometimes proudly, sometimes rather embarrassingly, as relates this joke is under the embarrassing canopy) about tofu having something similar to estrogen in it. I love tofu, and really fell in love with it during my time in China, as beef in China generally (not always) tends to be lower quality, and more expensive than pork. So tofu became one of my big sources of protein, because I could order a very large dish at a cheap price and it became my replacement protein. And to this day I still pronounce it like Chinese do, with a “d” sound like “dofu” instead of how American pronounce it, tofu. And after doing it for 7 years, can’t and actually don’t want to change my pronunciation. It’s one of my little inside jokes to myself and ways that I still carry my affection for the time I spent there. People always ANNOYINGLY correct me, and I just go on pronouncing it “dofu” as I like to. You can buy a big block of it at Wal-Mart roughly the size of a large paperback book, for (I think it was last time??) $1. But it’s cheap whatever it is. I take it out of the water pack, and cut them into roughly half-inch cubes to dry out for like 8–12 hours. After they dry out I coat the bottom of my pan in any oil. I mean super thin coat of oil like I tip the frying pan to get it to coat all of it, or the amount of oil I put in won’t coat the pan. And then I put it on pretty low heat, until ALL the sides of the cubes become a very mild brown. then right near the end I throw in a vegetable, could be asparagus, peas, maybe diced tomatoes with juice (though rarely) or whatever. Then lastly I put on a small amount of salt, and by most people’s standards a large heaping of Cayenne pepper. I sprinkle it on from a bottle, but I shake that cayenne on top of it like a good 10–15 seconds. It’s not really how I ate it in China, but it’s a close rendition but more to my personal taste. And it’s close enough rendition it can give me some nostalgic memories of the times and places, and people I knew in China. There were certain very naive goals I had during my time in China that I never achieved. And certainly one of those goals could make me bitter if I pivot my thoughts on it. But I still have a lot of memories that no one can ever take from me—and few people will EVER be able to share with me, because China was/is changing lightning fast, so there was only a small window to experience those things. No one, whatever they say or do can take those memories from me. And THAT friends is a nice feeling to carry with you.

    People can make all the jokes they want. I love dofu. I enjoy it, and I’m not ashamed of it. SO if people want to make the jokes about that dofu emasculates you because it has whatever hormone in it, if they feel big doing that, they can make any comment they want.

    1. Willie

      I happen to like tofu but never cooked it like you do. It sounds worth a try to me.

      As far as Victory Tofu, I think it could be the beginning of something beautiful. Buy a big diesel pickup, get a bedfull of Victory Tofu as a premium. Buy a large appliance, get ten pounds of Victory Tofu as a premium. I can think of all kinds of things that could be sold using Victory Tofu as incentive. Us wimpy coastal types will just be stuck with artisan coffee and quinoa in our attempts to feel superior. Rootin’, tootin’, chest thumpin’ macho wins again!

      1. Moses Herzog

        Keep a close eye on it, and have the heat relatively low, when the cubes are dry it’s easier for them to stick to the pan, if you find it happening too much, use a little more oil than I prescribed, Use yourself a wooden square ended utensil for best results on turning your squares (though any utensil you prefer is fine), and move them around semi-actively to avoid the sticking to the pan. And really each side of the square had to be on the bottom of the pan to get them to brown and have a “semi-fried” quality to them (what you are going for on the texture, a pretty light brown). You will never get all six sides to brown perfect, as you spin them around maybe you’re going for 4 out of the six sides to get that nice brown.

        The main reason most Americans hate tofu, is because it’s often boiled and then put into a spicy liquid. So it gets a kind of “goopy” or “soppy” jello texture that grosses Americans out. When you can learn how to get a FRIED texture of tofu, you will suddenly find yourself loving it much more (the first time cooking will probably be a “fail”, keep going at it).

        Texture is VERY VERY VERY important to what people like and what they don’t like. EXAMPLE: I like BOTH Chinese food and Vietnamese food very much—but I like Vietnamese food more than Chinese. WHY??? Because Chinese tend to have their food SWIMMING in oil and grease. Vietnamese have a SIMILAR style of food MINUS the oil. And it makes ALL the difference.

        I’m NOT saying Chinese food is worse or “lower” on the scale compared to Vietnamese—-I’m saying on a subjective level Vietnamese fits my personal tastes better.

        1. baffling

          stir fried with chicken and red chilis. only acceptable way to eat tofu. my wife used it to replace cheese in lasagna. sorry to say, i actually really liked it-and she never let me forget it. i won’t admit to liking it, but i will eat it heartily when made properly.

    2. Barkley Rosser

      Dofu is for doofuses, but, heck, tofu is for toofuses, whatever they are, :-).

  4. CoRev

    Menzie, pgl disagrees. Pgl believes Farmers DO NOT long term store their crops. I wonder if pgl, like AOC, knows that food is grown in the ground and what a garbage disposal is. New Yorkers????

    This comment is in light of the value of the article.

      1. CoRev

        Menzie and I do remember it. Mostly I remember his ridicule of it as a normal farming practice.

        1. pgl

          More dishonest trolling. But hey – that is what Trump pays you to do. Otherwise you’d be homeless.

        2. Moses Herzog

          The reason pgl has the strong temptation to ridicule you, is, you don’t seem to understand that with raw food commodities the longer you keep it in any storage (outside of maybe freezing, and I don’t know anyone who has proposed that for soybeans on a farm, again due to cost) the quality is going to go down and they will go bad. Not to mention, anytime you hold on to products and they don’t enter the market, you’re more apt to have a surplus inventory build up. All of this amounts to the situation we have now. Futures down 6% lower than when you had already made a jackass out of yourself talking about something you have very little knowledge.

          This is something you don’t need a lot of graphs to understand, like say you might need for global value chain analysis and the type of “intermediate products” (I’m probably using bad terminology there, but hopefully people get my meaning) added to consumer electronics etc. It doesn’t take a lot of brains to understand the situation with farm products.

          So yeah, when people see Elmer Fudd walking around “hunting for wabbits” with a limp shotgun, they will “ridicule” him.

    1. pgl

      Do you feel compelled to lie 24/7 about what others have said or what? Menzie has this right but then maybe the concept of carrying costs was over your head.

    2. Willie

      AOC is neither as dumb nor as naive as the right would like to think. But, Ted Kennedy died and Hillary Clinton is in the process of going away, so the right needs a bugbear. I guess she’s just what the right was looking for and CoRev is spouting the talking points.

    3. 2slugbaits

      CoRev I wonder if pgl, like AOC

      I’m not a big AOC fan and I disagree with a lot of what she says, but unlike you she at least has an economics degree from an accredited (albeit somewhat heterodox) university department. I’m pretty sure that she’s forgotten more economics than you’ve ever learned.

      1. pgl

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez majored in international relations and economics at Boston University graduating cum laude. Of course CoRev does not even know what cum laude even means.

    1. pgl

      I hate tofu. But given how dreadful my university cafeteria was – this would be a vast improvement.

    2. Ralph

      How about soybeans drenched in glyphosate. Mmmmm, what a way to go. Or oats, corn, and wheat. When we finally ban that poison, farmer’s will be up the creek without a paddle for jumping 100% into Monsanto’s cycle of destructive practices. Organic, non GMO tofu, please.

  5. 2slugbaits

    I don’t think it will fly. Substituting tofu for animal proteins would hurt Trump’s base among dairy, cattle, pork and poultry farmers. And healthier diets would hurt Big Pharma, a traditional GOP ally.

    1. pgl

      Have you seen Trump’s waist line? Better yet – the waist line of Chris Christie. A tofu diet for them should be mandatory!

  6. pgl

    Kudlow is in Trump’s Dog House for Telling the Truth About Tariffs!


    ‘President Trump was vexed with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow after he partially acknowledged in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that U.S. consumers will have to front part of the burden for the administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports, The Washington Post reported.’

    Larry, Larry, Larry! Your job description is to repeat Trump’s lies at every turn. Come on Larry!

    1. baffling

      the new conservative mantra is to lie and keep the same story, truth be damned. rick stryker enlightened me to this a while back, when he approved of trump’s lies if it furthered his agenda. conservatives who lie are apparently considered patriots if if furthers the conservative agenda.

  7. ramesh12

    I think there is a math error in the lb calculation for the Tofu amount. You need to divide by 1.75 rather than multiplying the protein volume.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      ramesh12: I’m no expert, but I’m just using the recipe hyperlinked to. Remember, you’re adding water to the soybean meal. (Actually, I think I saw my mother make some tofu once, so I do think multiplying is right).

      1. ramesh12

        Not the way the conversion weights have been described above:

        ” Each bushel yields 48 lbs of protein. Each pound of tofu requires about 1.75 pounds of bean protein.” You would need to divide by 1.75, not multiply.

  8. Julian Silk

    Dear Folks,

    This reminds me of the remark that was mentioned about Scoop Jackson’s campaign in 1976. The president of a dog food manufacturing company calls a meeting to discuss declining sales of the product. He says, “We are using the best ingredients, we use the best packaging, we have the best sales force, and so we must be making the best product. Why aren’t we doing better?” From the back, someone says, “Dogs don’t like it”. The same will go for Victory tofu, unless there is some sort of new domestic demand for it.


  9. Moses Herzog

    As I have said before, I get hardcopies of the NYT, but I am lazy and sometimes takes me awhile to get around to reading them as they lay around the house collecting dust. My father (certainly in his older years) had this morbid habit of reading obituaries. I generally avoid reading them. However some obituary titles will get my attention and some are quite fascinating. There were many things of note in this one. One being the obituary was put in the April 5 hardcopy NYT, but Mrs. Brock apparently passed away on March 19. So, not sure the reason for the “delay” or gap in time there. One thing that bothers me about American culture is our obsession with celebrities, and also what life activities dictate a person becoming a celebrity. This lady seems like a great person, and I suspect a person whose skills will be in dire need in the coming months (if not already). It is also worthy to note a woman of the exact same name is mentioned in a 1986 NYT story and a 1987 story in the NYT, which will come up immediately at the top if you do a search on Mrs. Brock’s full name. I was somewhat moved by this story, and there is a movie screenplay in this story and if done by a quality writer with the right (mostly altruistic) intentions could make a great Hollywood film.

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