a blog about soybean cake and other essential topics

Prediction: Bean curd will outlast many U.S. newspapers – it already beat emperors

posted by on 2009.06.25, under bean curd, soybeans, tofu

The U.S. newspaper industry has taken a beating recently. The reasons are many, as we know, including the Internet and changing readership behavior.

Dozens of my colleagues and I lost our jobs in March after our former employer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, ended its print edition. Certainly, I hope the industry can find some stability.

Among the hardest-hit media companies is the Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. But this week, reporters at the Los Angeles Times managed to fit into pixels, and I presume print, some nice articles about soybean cake.

They searched the Los Angeles area for tofu makers and filed a dispatch called The joy of soy (accompanied by a great photograph) and instructions on how to make bean curd at home.

There were recipes, too, including one for fried tofu with a vinegar-chili-soy sauce dipping sauce. I know: Yummy.

Some of the best lines in an article by writer Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee:

Tofu gets a bum rap….It’s really a shame because tofu can be a beautiful thing, especially when it’s freshly made – soy beans dried, soaked and boiled in distilled water, lovingly ground to a perfect pulp, boiled, coagulated with sea salt, strained, formed and wrapped still soft and warm, fresh from its milky bath.

Given that the Tribune Co. is hurting financially, I was happy to see the articles.

My prediction is that soybean cake, as odd and sad as it might sound, will survive many U.S. newspapers. Ideally, I want both to prosper.

But tofu has done pretty well since it reportedly started in Anhui province back in 164 BC.

It’s unassuming and considered healthy for you (when eaten in moderation and made with fresh, natural ingredients). It appeals to vegetarians and non vegetarians.

There are low economic barriers to making and eating soybean cake. The global market for it is diverse enough to withstand a severe economic shock.

Craigslist does not appear to pose a serious economic threat to its existence. Monks in Asia like it. But global environmental problems could possibly put a serious crimp in its production.

Tofu – in and of itself – is not just one type.

But it’s difficult to measure its true economic value on a worldwide scale. In daily conversations, people typically don’t refer to the market capitalization of tofu.

So, if I had to characterize it in the way an economist would, I would say: “It’s here for the long term, at least relatively.”

UPDATE: Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer also has been talking about the shift away from newspapers. In a decade, he said in an article in the Guardian, traditional media content will be digital.

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