rants & recipes

Trader Joe, I`m coming and I want my $3 back.

Posted by trktos on 11-September-2008

In a effort to post at least one non-political something …

I recently was happy to re-discover that Trader Joe’s sells their organic tofu for $.50 less/pack than Whole Foods. We eat a lot of tofu ’round here, so that’s sorta a big deal! TJ’s tofu is also much firmer and, as I was cubing the first block purchased from TJ since -I don’t know, a really long time – I had decided to make the effort to buy TJ tofu from now on.

So, this was a week or two ago … I cubed this block of tofu, threw it in a pan with no oil or soy sauce, and cooked it a while, to cook some of the water out. Later added soy sauce and oil, and cooked as I normally do.

Went to eat and I thought the tofu tasted a little sour. Evin couldn’t taste it, said it tasted fine to him. I remembered that this used to happen occasionally and wondered if I somehow curdled the tofu, trying to cook the water out of it? Evin pointed out that tofu is already curdled. So we started wondering if maybe they use a different firming agent than WF – they do – and if maybe that attributed to the slightly sour taste?

Fast forward to last night. Two remaining packages of TJ tofu. I open one and smell of it – slightly sour! Evin can’t smell it … I open the other package, with an even later expiry date, and it’s worse! Evin could even tell something was wrong with this one. So, I open a package of WF’s tofu and, thankfully, it smelled just fine. (And curiously like the inside of a carving pumpkin.)

Evin had the bright idea to smear a bit of the most-sour tofu on a slide and look at it under the microscope. I had little hope that he would see anything. But he did – thousands and thousands of little rod-shaped bacteria!!! Just for good measure, we also looked at some WF tofu, thinking we’d see a few bacteria but we saw none.

Soooo, that means, not only a few weeks ago, but several times over the past 3-4 years, we’ve had bad tofu from Trader Joe’s (used to buy from them exclusively, before Whole Food’s opened in Alexandria) … and here I was thinking all along that maybe I cooked it “wrong” or something, and Evin could never taste anything sour – seriously, what does this say about Evin’s sense of taste?!? But, really, we were just eating bacteria!

See all the dark blue, little rods in this (not very good) photo? Bacillus! And let me tell you, were they swimming, twisting and darting about – just having a blast!

So, Trader Joe, I will be coming to get my $3 back. On principal, if nothing else. And I won’t be buying tofu from you again. Disgusting!


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