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Tofu August 9, 2009

Posted by tuimeltje in fandom veganism, non-food veganness.
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Medium: Television
Show: MacGyver
Episode(s) mentioned: Out in the Cold (episode 38, season 2 episode 16 perhaps?)

Occasionally, one can find some discussion about whether or not good old Mac is vegetarian. While I obviously think he should be vegan, I very much leaning towards assuming he isn’t actually, seeing as he doesn’t seem too concerned about avoiding meaty foods. This may change in later seasons, though. It’s been ages since I’ve seen anything past early season four and there seem to be mentions of him actually being vegetarian later on.
However, even early in the series he does seem to eat some vegetarian/health foods that makes others think he kind of odd. Like those alfalfa sprouts he loves so much because of their mineral content and the way they don’t leave stains when he spills some.

Ever the practical man, that Mac.

And he’ll eat tofu, too. While I can get quite excited at characters randomly eating veg*an foods as if it normal (yeah, I know. Tofu-dishes aren’t necessarily veg*n, but it is supposedly all we eat), in MacGyver this food can be presented as something icky and gross no “normal” person would want to eat. Mac may enjoy it, or at least suffer through it because he’s a superhuman more concerned with his health than enjoying his meal, but the viewing audience isn’t expected to be like that.

There are probably several examples, but the only one I remember is that tofu casserole he’d made when Pete was staying with him. It looked like salmon mousse in an oven dish, just some bland, colourless supposedly baked mash. Pete sure didn’t waste any time before complaining and getting Mac to go for some Chinese take-out. Never any soya foods found there, I expect.
To be fair, it may have been most tasty. Heaven knows not all of the stuff I cook up looks too great, and it usually tastes just fine. Here, however, I strongly suspect that’s not what they were going for, what with Pete’s reaction and the common prejudice that healthy and/or veg*n food is gross.

While I’m sure there have been some monstrous foods advertised and consumed for their nutritional value rather than their taste, it is perfectly possible to cook up something both tasty and nutritious. It perfectly easy, even. It’s something I expect Mac, the eternal bachelor, to be able to to do. But we can’t have people find out about that one, now can we? Not when we can perpetuate a perfectly good stereotype.

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