Note– this is a rewrite of a FB post I put up a few days ago. Brittany suggested I expand it into a RIZK blog entry, and I thought it was a good idea, so here goes…
Yesterday morning, I was working trays in the tofu hut, and I got to thinking about the similarities between a band and the crew working to make tofu– everyone does their part, and together we create beautiful music (or soy product). Here’s what I came up with:
The kettle person is the drummer of the band. It’s the basic foundational job, which sets the pace for the entire tofu hut. When the kettle person is fast, everyone works faster. When it’s slow, there’s nothing you can do but slow down.
The curder is the bass player. This job is, mostly overlooked and underrated, is nonetheless quite important to the quality of the final project. Much like the bassist, if the curder is doing a good job, everyone’s job is easier and the resulting tofu is likely to be high quality. If the curder is making crappy curds, everyone down the line is going to have a harder job, and no matter how long the curds are pressed, the tofu just isn’t going to be very good.
The trays person is the lead instrumentalist (guitar/piano/etc.). It’s the most prominent job, one might say, the “loudest in the mix” when it comes to actually making the tofu. If the tofu comes out good, the trays person is quick to take credit, claiming that the beautiful firm blocks are all due to their skill at their instrument. And if the tofu is soft and crappy, they will blame the rhythm section (kettle/curder) for giving them lousy curds to work with.
The pack honcho is the lead singer/front person. Primarily concerned with appearances, the slickly-packaged product they create is the first thing that a potential customer sees when deciding whether to purchase the tofu.
The pack helpers are the backing singers. When we’re going for that stripped down effect (just plain bulk), it’s fine to have one pack person. But when we want those complex harmonies (pounders, flavored tofu, MTT), you need to bring in some help. Like backup singers hired for a tour or recording and fired afterwards, they aren’t really considered to be an essential part of the band, as this job is frequently done by visitors and guests without a lot of training.
The kettle/trays clean crew are the roadies/sound guy/tech crew. The most un-glamorous job in the tofu hut; to the casual observer, it might seem like they are the least important part of creating the finished project. But if you tried to do without them for a single day, the whole operation would fall apart.
That’s as far as I got. Later in the afternoon I was talking with Zenny, who pointed out an important addition. The tofu hut squirrels, who are the groupies, waiting just off-stage to gather up and consume any spare soy goodness coming out the door of the tofu hut!