Today at brunch, the controversial tofu apple crisp dish, consisting of tofu, apples, and crisp, was spotted in the Pierson dining hall, putting to rest the rumors that Yale Dining had discontinued this vegan dish. According to the Yale Dining online menu, tofu apple crisp was served in many of the residential colleges at today’s brunch. In Pierson, the dish appeared to be only a quarter eaten around 1 pm, but it is unclear how many full dishes had been consumed and replenished earlier in the day.
This “dessert” has had a long and controversial history at Yale. On the one hand, Yale Dining describes it as a “Smart Choice Item” as part of their “Eat Smart, Live Well” program. According to their website, a “Smart Choice Item” must have “less than 500 calories, less than 30% calories from fat & less than 10% saturated fat, less than 100 mg of cholesterol, and less than 600 mg of sodium.” In 2007, PETA praised Yale for it’s vegetarian friendliness, describing it as one of the nations most vegetarian-friendly campuses.
On there other hand, there has been a long history of student resistance to this supposed “dessert.” One student in the dining hall today described it as “God’s wrath” visited upon us for our sins. A Facebook group named “Apple crisp with TOFU?!? Seriously, WTF?!?” argues that while tofu dishes are normally acceptable, tofu does not belong in desserts like apple crisp. Another Facebook group “Yale students against Meatless Monday” attempts to depict a fascist food agenda at Yale, citing tofu apple crisp as the beginning of this conspiracy for promoting healthy, bad tasting food. Even Taps, Yale’s tap dance organization, has spoken out against the dish, depicting tofu apple crisp as a supervillain in their superhero themed show last spring.
The history of tofu apple crisp is fuzzy. A quick search online found few if any references to the dish outside of the context of Yale. Ultimately, as we finish our brunch and go off to the library to study, we’re left with so many unanswered questions. Who invented tofu apple crisp? When did Yale begin serving this? Who eats this? Why would anyone think putting tofu in an apple dessert was a good idea? Is this part of a vast conspiracy hatched by Richard Levin to advance his fascist “pro-tofu apple” agenda despite the pleas of the Yale community? If anyone has information, please let us know.