The aroma of the dinner roast floats through the air, enticing Patricia Dobson into the kitchen.
Her husband, Lou Donofrio, a former gourmet chef, serves himself a slice of the tender meat while Dobson glides past him and reaches for the tofu.
She said she’s a vegetarian because simply does not like the flavor of meat, so for more than 20 years, her diet has consisted of soy and tofu.
“It’s like how some people love the smell of coffee but hate the way it tastes,” Dobson said. “I had to get protein somewhere.”
As natural foods have grown more popular, the products have gotten easier to obtain, she said.
“They didn’t use to be readily available,” she said.
Dobson includes soy as an ingredient in most of her recipes, including spaghetti sauce.
She tells the story of a time when her family was enjoying a meal together when they suddenly noticed she was eating the spaghetti along with everybody else.
“They knew it was soy, and they admitted it was good soy,” she said.
As an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University, she said at company parties she has brought soy Italian sausages or hot dogs.
“Most said it was all right, but some spit it out,” she said. “It’s an acquired taste.”
She said she purchases soy chicken and hamburgers so that when she is invited places, like barbeques, she will blend in.
Dobson said she not only eats organic foods to replace her meat intake, but for health benefits as well.
“It’s a cancer fighter,” she said. “After (my) mom died (of cancer) I upped it. I doubled, even tripled the recommended amount.”
Jule Abernathy, owner of Makin’ It Natural Health Food Store, said Clovis may have been a little behind the times, but is beginning to catch up with the organic food industry.
“All natural things are becoming more popular,” she said.
At Makin’ It Natural Abernathy said they sell various herbs and vitamins as well as soy and tofu products, including skin care materials.
Dobson said Wal-Mart and Albertson’s also carry a selection of soy and tofu products.
Abernathy said soy products are also beneficial to those who are lactose intolerant. She said women who eat soy and tofu don’t have to worry about synthetic hormones since soy has natural estrogen in it.