The Tofu Not Eaten

An ode to Stinky Tofu in the voice of Robert Frost…

The Tofu Not Eaten
By Kristina Lin, Artwork by Kelly Lin

Two tofu I was given in my childhood,
And sorry I could not eat them both,
And be a hungry child, long I stood,
And sniffed at one as deep as I could,
Until my nostril to the smell loath;

Then smelled the other, just as tempting,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was fried and wanted tasting,
Though as for that the time passed waiting,
Had cooled them really about the same,

And both that morning equally invite
In sauce no taste buds could ever deny.
Oh, I kept the first for another sight!
Yet knowing how bite leads on to bite,
I doubted if the second I would try.

I shall be telling this in reply
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two tofu given in my childhood, and I—
I took the one fewer people try,
And that has made all the difference:

For now I love eating stinky tofu.

Author’s Note: This was adapted from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” I enjoy reading Robert Frost and was inspired by his work, so I wanted to combine elements of Taiwanese culture with one of my favorite of his poems. Voila!

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