For vegetarians and vegans, the Tofurky — a beige lump that kinda-sorta resembles poultry, but is actually made of soy — is about as classic as the traditional bird. It’s been mercilessly mocked in pop culture, but the cruelty-free holiday staple has a taste that took years to perfect.
The latest video from Great Big Story examines the history of this strange culinary invention. Its creator, vegetarian Seth Tibbott, was living in a treehouse (built out of scavenged wood, because why not?) when he began producing tempeh-based products; finding something to eat at Thanksgiving, however, proved problematic.
First, he created a stuffed pumpkin which wound up collapsing in the oven. Next came the “gluten roast” which Tibbott says in the video took eight hours to cook and “was too tough to cut.” Eventually, the Tofurky was born.
It’s evolved in the years since (Tibbott calls the journey a “long, strange tempeh trip”) but today, it’s a fairly standard Thanksgiving protein — if you’re into that sort of thing.