Just like Jack's precocious beanstalk, soyfoods have taken the country by storm. This really should come as no surprise—they taste good and they're good for us, too. Add the hip factor and you have a blockbuster bean.
However you may still think of them as a meat substitute. If so, you may be surprised to learn that only a very small percentage of the soybeans produced in this country are used to produce soyfoods.The majority of soybeans go to animal feed—41 percent to feed poultry, 25 percent to feed pigs and 21 percent for beef and dairy cattle. This means that the soybeans and livestock industries are very dependent on one another--not something the average person stops to think about. But when you do (stop to think about it), you'll understand that soybean farmers have nothing to gain by pushing meat aside. In fact, most soybean farmers are hog and cattle farmers too.
So as dietitians have been saying for years now—all foods fit. Soyfoods do not have to come at the expense of their carnivore cousins. They can all happily coexist. So instead of thinking of soy as a meat substitute think of soy, and all it's iterations, as an ingredient like any other. In these recipes, edamame marries in a cream sauce perfect over chicken, soynuts make an appearance in chocolate chip cookies, silken tofu provides a creamy texture for pumpkin in cheesecake, and pork and tofu are soul mates in the classic Chinese dish, Ma-Po Tofu.