Moorgate during the day is a whirl of city workers, suit-clad people off to squeak more money out of the global capital markets. It's not a place I often end up, but work sends me in that direction, I make sure to stop by the Holland and Barrett that's behind the station. You never know what you might find.
In my last visit, for example, I saw Tofurky. If you're in the US, finding Tofurky on the shelves of your local health food store probably isn't very exciting, but here in the UK, it's kind of a new thing.
I don't think I've ever seen Tofurky over here, except at Christmas in a Whole Foods branch when I tried to buy a Tofurky roast, but subsequently had to carry it back to the freezer from whence it came, spluttering in parsimonious embarrassment at the £30-or-so price tag.
A few days later, I found an article on The Grocer that explains the sudden Tofurky surge: according to the publication, the deli slices and tempeh are being rolled out to Holland and Barrett branches across the country.
Having picked up some Tofurky turkey slices, a couple of days later I found the ham on sale in Whole Foods. (Has is always been there, or have I been walking around with Tofurky blinders on all my life?) On a crazed Tofurky binge, I took some ham home too. Hot tip: deli slices are 14p cheaper in Holland and Barrett.
Apparently, Tofurky was invented in 1995. For me, though, it might as well have been yesterday – 2015 was the year I had my first taste of Tofurky.
First, I tried the ham. It was…. what's the word I'm look for?..... nasty.
It was so strongly flavoured it was like someone was punching me in the palette, over and over again. And not in a good way.
I tried it in sandwiches, adding a couple of strips to sauces or scrambles, anything I could think of. The acrid smoked taste penetrated everything like having a small bonfire in the back of your throat.
I approached the hickory Tofurky slices with trepidation. Could a company that would inflict the smoked ham style deli slices on the world come up with something genuinely tasty?
Yes, yes they could. A bite or two of a hickory deli slice convinced me of Tofurky's deserved position as patron saint of meat analogue slices. The hickory was everything the ham was not: comforting, mildly alkaline, and actually pleasant to eat.
So, one winner, one loser in my first Tofurky taste test. I liked the hickory enough to give more Tofurky products a go. Now, where's that Holland and Barrett again?