Columns » Ranger Rich

Have a great Tofurky Day


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Today, with Thanksgiving upon us to use the old expression, "like Gustavo Castanon on a basset hound" let's talk about this most special holiday, recalling how the pilgrims gathered in those early years on the shores of America and feasted on a healthy and cruelty-free meal of pasty, soy-based Tofurky, which was very bland and made them think they were chewing on wet paper towels.

This made the pilgrims happy because, as you recall, they were English, and paper towels were a delicacy compared to some of the other things the English eat.

Here you might be wondering if I am drinking fermented cider while writing this column. Or you might be wondering if pilgrims actually served Tofurky or whether the English do indeed enjoy the taste of paper towels. Although most of you are probably wondering who the hell Gustavo Castanon is.

So let's get to that one first.

Gustavo and you are hereby warned that you should definitely not read the rest of this if you have either (a) delicate sensibilities or (b) a basset hound that licks your face was a volunteer at the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter.

Several weeks ago, the 33-year-old Gustavo was caught and psychiatrists working with the witness believe they can get her to stop screaming by Christmas while he was having a training session with the dog that went way, way past "sit."

Without giving too much detail and I swear I am not kidding about this story, which was actually reported in the Denver Post the basset hound had been tricked into licking Gustavo's, uh, private parts. Gustavo did this, apparently, with the use of peanut butter. Last week, he was sentenced to two years of probation.

And with all that said, I hereby vow that I will never, ever say another word or make any jokes about this disgusting story or about Gustavo or about his friends, who, as I understand it, are now calling him either "Peter Pan" or "Skippy."

Instead, let's get back to Thanksgiving and Tofurky and how there will be a feast at our house Thursday, a feast made from love and kindness and respect for our Earth and all of its creatures, a meal crafted from all-natural food such as pine nuts and dried hijiki and organic raisins and pesticide-free Brussels sprouts.

(Footnote: As in each of the past several years, my wife, Susie, and I will eat all of that while our five kids will eat at the neighbors' house, where they once again will serve a big, delicious, goddamn turkey like a normal family.)

The actual Tofurky was developed in 1995. It is made from wheat gluten and organic tofu, and contains no actual "drumsticks" but does contain a delightful "layer of slime."

Tofurky is made by an Oregon health-food company that, according to its Web site, prepares all of its marvelous food products with "expeller pressed isolates and concentrates." And as we all know, nothing says "Mommy, can I have seconds?" quite like a big holiday platter of expeller pressed isolates and concentrates.

The company, Turtle Island Foods, goes on to say that it began in 1980 as the brainchild of founder Seth Tibbott. From the actual Web site: "Seth had been making Tempeh for family and friends for three years out of an incubator made from an old refrigerator heated by a string of Christmas tree lights."

Which helps explain not only the delightful, natural, homemade flavor, but also the subtle aftertaste of a smoldering electrical fire.

Anyway, on Thursday our table will have Tofurky and tempeh and orange-scented sweet potatoes and a baked pumpkin, too.

Another delight will be my wife's specialty, an actual dish that uses the knobby roots of sunflower plants along with maple syrup and nut oil, a dish that is actually called "Jerusalem artichoke salad" named, as best I can tell, for the way most people shout "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" as they make a funny face and spit it back into the bowl.

And for dessert, my wife will make her famous organic peanut-butter cookies.

You know, unless Gustavo shows up.

Listen to Rich Tosches each Thursday at 8 a.m. on the Darren and Koba show on MY99.9. Reach him at


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