According to a 2007 CNN story, “Soybeans, usually in the form of oil, account for an astonishing 10 percent of our total calories in the United States.” It was very different a hundred years ago when soybeans were a new crop in the U.S. Here’s some excerpts from a 1917 magazine article promoting the use of soybeans. (Back then “soy” and “bean” were two separate words.)
Soy: The Coming Bean
The soy bean, also called the soja bean, is a native of south-eastern Asia, and has been extensively cultivated in Japan, China, and India since ancient times. The beans are there grown almost entirely for human food, being prepared for consumption in many different ways.
The soy is a coming bean if not the coming bean. It is on its way to arrival in the American kitchen and dining room.
The outstanding fact of importance to consumers of food in the United States today is that a nutritious, palatable, easily grown (and therefore eventually cheap) legume is being recommended by the food experts. Pressure of circumstances has revived interest in foods and combinations of food of which the majority were old and have been forgotten. The soy bean, however, is to practically all American cooks and to the large body of food manufacturers an entirely new product.
Good Housekeeping (September, 1017)