History of TOFU

History of TOFU

Where did the popular Tofu come from? Do you know?


Sources state that the history of tofu production dates back to the second century BC, with its production beginning in China. Later, tofu spread to other countries such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Chinese tradition says that soybeans belonged to the five sacred Chinese crops under Emperor Sheng-Nung, who mentions them in his manuscript dated 2838 BC.


Other historians say that soy entered the scene a bit later, but since 300 BC soybeans are repeatedly mentioned in Chinese documents along with millet as the main agricultural crop in northern China.


J How did soybeans come to the West?


How soybeans came to the West and became a popular food here is not entirely known. One legend claims that European sailors used bags made of soybean on their trips home from China.


European traders probably brought dried tofu home as early as in the 16th century. There are records from the 18th century of European pundits studying this food.


The soybean mostly spread around the world with Chinese immigrants, but it was virtually unknown outside these communities. It was more of a curiosity than food. This was also true of America at the time, with the exception of one man who revolutionized American breakfasts: Dr. John Harvey Kellog, one of the first promoters of vegetarianism. He managed to replace the typical American breakfast, eggs and bacon, with corn flakes and granola. In his research on a healthy diet, he came across soybeans.


In 1919 he wrote an extensive essay on the usefulness of soy in the nutrition of diabetics, and in the 1920s he was already trading the first soy products. Later, along with other pioneers of vegetarianism from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he developed other products (such as soy meat substitutes) and made a major contribution to making soy a well-known and used ingredient in America.


Another promoter of soy was Dr. A. H. Horvath, known as the “Father of soybeans”. In 1931 he published a scientific paper titled “Soy flour as a national dish” and worked tirelessly to place soybeans among the major crops grown in the US. His efforts were largely successful, with the soybean area growing more than 70 times in fifteen years of his work.

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