Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Sometimes it can be helpful to know if soy is common in a particular type of food. This is different from finding out if soy is in a particular dish. Knowing if soy is common in a type of food helps to narrow down the uncertainty in eating food and helps focus any questions you have about the food.
For example, let's say that your friend invited you over for dinner and told you that they would be making mac & cheese. You'd like to be sure that the mac & cheese is soy-free, but for whatever reason, you don't want to directly ask your friend.
Ashley and I have developed a little trick for these types of situations: we Google the recipe. Specifically, we look up several different recipes for the food type in question. This gives us a sense for the typical ingredients in that dish, and helps us understand if we should be concerned about the use of soy or not. When we search for recipes to see if soy is common in a particular type of food, we look for the five places where soy is likely to be. If none of the recipes contain soy (or a possible soy-containing food, like "vegetable oil"), then we can be pretty sure the food type is largely soy-free. If we do see one or two suspect ingredients, it can make asking about food ingredients easier because we know specifically what to ask about.
Let's continue with the mac & cheese example: So, we know that we are having mac & cheese, but we don't know what the common ingredients are for mac & cheese. We search for mac & cheese recipes and look through the top 5-10 results. We see that all the recipes use pasta and cheese, but none of them use any bread or oil. Good so far! But, we also see that all of them call for butter. Since we know that butter is a common place to find soy (in the form of margarine), we know that some mac & cheese might contain soy. Now we can ask our dinner host ahead of time if they used real butter or not to be sure that the mac & cheese is soy-free.
Glancing through recipes also works in restaurants! If Ashley finds something on the menu she wants to try, but doesn't know if it is like to contain soy, we can do a quick search on our phones. We can quickly understand if the food in question is likely a good choice or not and adjust our menu choices accordingly.
Searching through recipes like this provides a big-picture view. While it doesn't help with specific dishes, understanding the common places to find soy in a type of food makes it easier to ask about ingredients and easier to avoid possible places where soy could exist. All it takes is a quick Google search!