Skipping quietly over the big news of the week (she was an anti-feminist who never looked down after getting herself through the glass ceiling, a class warrior on the wrong side of the war and a homophobe whose homophobia brought in homophobic law) I suggest we turn our attention to a more pressing issue: me. As you’ll recall I’ve been terribly ill, mummy’s brave little soldier keeping his chin up through the flu, a chest infection, a spot of whooping cough and very little in the way of blogging. Throughout this charming episode I’ve had a number of very helpful people explain it’s all down to my vegetarianism, there having been no documented cases of illness among meat eaters. Indeed, it is said the fearsome plague of the Middle Ages was due almost entirely to the people of western Europe overindulging in houmous. Similarly, during one of the eight years I spent in a wheelchair I was indeed vegetarian, and there can be no denying that famous vegetarian Linda McCartney continues to be dead.

This kind of thing is one of the perks of vegetarianism. We’re never short on a bit of conversation from nosey people, we don’t go long without a bit of nutritional advice from people who know basically nothing about nutrition. People who combine telling you you’re not getting enough protein with not having any idea how much protein you should actually be getting. People who ask if you’re taking vitamins while cramming a Chicken McBastard in their mouths. Still, I will concede this recent bout of illness has coincided with an eight-year stretch of being a really crap vegetarian and an almost complete absence of the vitamins and foodstuffs I should actually be getting. And while I maintain it’s the crapness rather than the veggieness that’s the issue here, I need to do a bit of something.

You’ll recall my recent efforts to improve things on this front didn’t go particularly well. I’d promised to cook tofu like I’m not scared of its unfamiliar wibbley-wobbliness, combine proteins like I know what I’m talking about and boost B12 and omega 3 like I give a shit about either of them. I’ve not so much done all of that as not done any of it even slightly. I bought two big bottles of multi-vitamins and took some of them, and snacked on nuts and seeds for as long as it took for the packets of nuts and seeds to run out and be replaced by crisps and chocolate. They offer less in the way of protein but more in the way of wanting to live. I suspect I was aiming too high. I took on too much all at once. It was yer classic new year gym subscription. What I need is a gentle stroll at a mild incline on an undemanding treadmill no more than three feet from a Curly Wurly. With that in mind I’m limiting myself to tofu-based experimentation.

Fact is I like tofu, but only when cooked by other people. As is the case with all other foods. The few times I’ve tried to cook it I’ve mostly ballsed it up, like that time I threw it in stir fry and ended up with something that looked like grey scrambled eggs run over by a shopping trolley and had the same powdery aftertaste you get when you kiss your granny’s forehead. I don’t quite understand when I should be using silken tofu (the slippery/sloppery white stuff) or firm tofu (the spongy/squishy beige stuff) or how a big block of rubbery gloop can come from a bean. You look at a bean, you look at tofu, you’d never put the two together. And as much as I wish I could cook the stuff, I mostly can’t be bothered thinking about considering the possibility of approaching the notion of pondering actually doing something about it.

But that has to change. I’ve acquired a tofu cookbook, one devoted entirely to the beige beany mush to the exclusion of all other foods. Except the food you mix with it when cooking, obviously. Otherwise it’d just be a book of different ways of putting tofu on a plate and even I don’t need a book for that. Actually, I just tried it and it ended up sideways in a toast rack and now my house is on fire. I need this book. It’s got yer classic ‘70s brown recipes and a bunch of half-interesting curries, stir fries and desserts. Plan is to tackle this stuff once a week ‘til I know what I’m doing, and fight the urge to post pictures to the Zero Twitter feed like some tedious Instagram foodie bastard.

Naturally I don’t think this will make even the tiniest bit of difference to my lousy immune system but it’ll give me better grounds for being smug when the finger-wagging meat eaters visit me in my sickbed/dialysis/the morgue to say they told me so. How I hate them.

Photo credit: The Zero