S5:E3 | 9.3.2020

The Mysterious Yamei Kin

Dr. Kin had charisma, a medical degree, and support from the USDA — but she still couldn't convince Americans to eat tofu.

About this Episode

Dr. Yamei Kin was orphaned by her parents at a young age, and adopted by missionaries. She became one of the first Chinese women to receive a medical degree. In the 1910s, the USDA hired Dr. Kin to research high-protein foods in light of World War I shortages. But she was never able to position tofu as a respectable ingredient in the American diet. Why wasn’t the West ready for Tofu?

To learn more about the SoyInfo Center and Dr. Yamei Kin, visit soyinfocenter.com.

You can read the 1917 New York Times article about Dr. Kin’s journey to China to study the soybean at nytimes.com. (A New York Times subscription is required.)

About the Reporter

Daphne Chen is a writer and podcast producer based in NYC. She's currently an associate producer at Freakonomics Radio, where she makes stories about the hidden side of everything.

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