Real vegetarians invariably end up including wierd ingredients like miso, seitan, tempeh and tofu in their serious recipes, wierd to the rest of us that is. I am not even sure what the first three are, but tofu is pretty high profile by now, and even mainstream Americans probably have ingested it, if only in a Chinese restaurant where they disguise it by calling it bean curd. That's really tofu, right?
We've even bought tofu a few times with good intentions. Once we actually sautéed some up to add to some forgotten food experiment. But at least twice the stuff hung around the fridge until the expiration date was seriously exceeded. And it had to be trashed. There must be some kind of tofu threshold people who don't need it to survive must have to overcome to feel comfortable enough about using it that this doesn't happen. And it's obviously a much higher one for those other key vegetarian ingredients.
One of the two Fresh Fields supermarkets that we frequent still occasionally tempts us with little on-the-spot-cooked free samples. Must be the manager that makes the difference. We're easy targets for this market strategy. Gets you to try things you'd never think to pick up otherwise. This time it was VEAT soy protein product Gourmet Bites, "the new alternative to meat." Looks like little pieces of chicken. Sautéed in olive oil and then doused with Bob Weir's Otherworld Wok Sauce. [He's the remaining living Grateful Dead member with name recognition outside the world of Deadheads, looking to cash in on it outside the music business.] Pretty tasty combo. We bought one of each.
A few days later we'd managed to exhaust most of our oversupply of leftovers except for a generous remainder of Armenian rice and some frozen green soy beans we'd already heated up once before. A perfect match for the fake meat home trial. So we eagerly did them up and enjoyed the result. Of course not true Vegan fare since the rice had been originally done in butter, a well known animal product. For fencesitters like us, no problem.