I love trees. I am not an environmentalist. I am not a vegetarian, crunchy granola, save the planet kind of person. It isn't that I don't care. I do. But I don't want to be a hypocrite. I do my part. The best that I can. I recycle, and I don't litter. But I feel if you are going to label yourself something you have to go beyond the pale. You have to live it and breathe it and I would be lying to you if I told you I ever went to a rally or protest about these issues. I have never donated money to the cause and have even (shame on me) turned the dial on the radio when boring "THE WORLD IS DYING" rants come over the NPR airways. I know this sounds a bit harsh, but I am being honest. The truth is, I would really like to label myself an environmentalist. Though not a "cause" oriented person, I think that particular one is pretty damn important. I just don't have the time. Period. We have gone a little green in my house. We replaced most of our light bulbs with those other, greener, kind. But to be honest (again) that has more to do with the economic climate and less to do with climate change.
Anywho, now that I have offended most people, I would like to continue on about my love of trees. I love them more than people, sometimes. The majestic, rooted, stable, competent, beautiful tree. I love all races and creeds of trees. The Oak, the Willow, the White Birch, the Pine, the Elm, the Chestnut, the Dogwood, the Magnolia, the Cherry (all fruit trees), the Red Maple, the ordinary Maple... on and on.
My favorite thing to do when I was little was climbing trees. Growing up in an urban, industrial environment may make country folk cry "oxymoron!" But my back yard had pines to perch in, and my grandmother lived in the dreaded suburbs and those (back then) were full of trees. There was an enormous willow at my gram's that made the most amazing hide-out. You didn't even need to climb it...though I did... you could simply sit underneath it and you were hidden from the world. If my mom couldn't find me, I was up in a tree somewhere... reading. I loved the way they smelled, the victory of getting just the right footing and climbing higher (an early version of my love of video gaming? hmmmmm) and I loved the rough bark under my hands.
I don't miss a lot about being small. My experiences were not wonderful and I would not return. But If someone asked me to put a list together about the things I don't do anymore that I miss, tree climbing would be number 1.
There are trees in my novels. I write about them as I write about everything else that moves me. The trees in Haunting Anne make up most of the perimeter of the property of Anne's house, even though it is a city dwelling. They protect her from the world, and they protect the world from her. I can smell them as I type.
And so, I think I would weep if the tree in front of my house came down. I would weep and then plant a new one. How environmentally responsible of me.
Onto the recipe:
"M's Magic Tofu": or I can't believe it's not steak!
One package firm tofu
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
Marinate Tofu. Now... I do this in a ziplock bag... but we are talking environment here, so if you DO marinate it in a plastic bag, rinse and reuse. Thanks. If not, just go old school with a bowl or shallow roasting pan. Marinate for a least a 1/2 hour but no more than four.
Get a big non stick pan. Coat bottom with olive oil. wait til it dances (you remember) and then put the slices in. They will spit at you, so be CAREFUL! They take a bit of cooking, so be patient because we are changing the texture here as well as the taste. when you think they are brown and yummy crispy on one side, flip. They will spit at you again (water and oil... not good in a frying pan, and there is a lot of water in tofu... but it is necessary.)
Take out of pan and you are done!
I like to serve this with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. Don't ask why. It isn't anything you have to do. You can eat whatever sides you want to. Just don't use paper plates, try to stay away from meat pudding, and do yoga 2 hours later for the full effect.
See you Monday!