Skip

"Looks, feels, tastes, and acts like meat."
August 1, 2012 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Beyond Meat™. Fake chicken meat so good it will freak you out.
posted by xowie (239 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Seriously, who thought it was just a matter of cooking it better? These guys. Get them together with these guys, please ...

I seriously look forward to general availability of this. And am planning a trip at the end of the year with an eye towards stopping in and trying some.
posted by tilde at 6:43 AM on August 1, 2012


Brown's process uses new technology to turn soy meal and other vegan ingredients into a finished product that mimics chicken meat.

The easiest way to do this is to feed "soy meal and other vegan ingredients" to chickens.
posted by chavenet at 6:45 AM on August 1, 2012 [81 favorites]


...Brown expects to sell Beyond Meat for less than the price of real meat, too. (It hasn’t yet announced the price of the chicken strips it will sell to consumers; at Whole Foods, Beyond Meat dishes sell for the same price as their meaty counterparts.)

Wait, so is it going to sell for less than the price of chicken or for less than the price of chicken at Whole Foods? That's sort of an important distinction.
posted by griphus at 6:48 AM on August 1, 2012 [60 favorites]


Well, I will put myself on the mailing list. I'm not driving to DC to try it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:49 AM on August 1, 2012


The easiest way to do this is to feed "soy meal and other vegan ingredients" to chickens.

Yes, but this process requires less resources (such as water and fuel, and of course the soy itself). Plus it costs less to the consumer in the end.
posted by molecicco at 6:50 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


On their main page it looks more like wet bread than like meat.

Oh man, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
posted by aubilenon at 6:55 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sounds good, looking forward to it.
posted by kyrademon at 6:58 AM on August 1, 2012


I've been wanting to try this for weeks. I wish it weren't confined to DC and Northern CA.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:58 AM on August 1, 2012


I guess this is great for those who go vegan/ vegetarian for strictly health reasons, but as a long term vegetarian, this kind of thing squicks me out - too much processing, and what the hell are they using to bridge that uncanny valley.
posted by peppermind at 6:58 AM on August 1, 2012 [18 favorites]


It doesn’t taste much like chicken, but since most white meat chicken doesn’t taste like much anyway, that’s hardly a problem
....and that's where I lost interest. Seriously...am I the only one on the planet who thinks that Chicken has a distinct taste?
posted by schmod at 7:01 AM on August 1, 2012 [27 favorites]


Yeah, the too much processing bit is definitely squicky. At least the sodium looks relatively under control (8% of the RDA per serving), for a machine made food thing.
posted by notyou at 7:02 AM on August 1, 2012


I was hoping this would be a product tie-in for the Chew comics, which are set in a world where chicken is illegal, and chicken substitutes play an important role. But no, it's just the normal weirdness.
posted by CheeseLouise at 7:05 AM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Honest question: what's so bad about the processing? From what they describe, it's just a "dry mix of soy and pea powder, carrot fiber and gluten-free flour," cooked and extruded.
posted by griphus at 7:05 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


People who thing chicken doesn't taste like much have obviously not eaten chicken in a very long time.

Also, yeah, you can tell the texture is bad just by looking at it. Just file this one away with those gag-worthy Morningstar Farms chicken strips.
posted by Malice at 7:07 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


think*
posted by Malice at 7:07 AM on August 1, 2012


Honest question: what's so bad about the processing? From what they describe, it's just a "dry mix of soy and pea powder, carrot fiber and gluten-free flour," cooked and extruded.

Personally, I was wondering why they have Titanium Dioxide in there.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:09 AM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


What's the nutritional tradeoff? Can athletes reliably switch to this product?
posted by polymodus at 7:09 AM on August 1, 2012


It's just like chicken only doesn't taste like anything!
posted by nathancaswell at 7:10 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


what do you mean a "Very Long Time"? I think in the past chicken did have a much more substantial flavour. These days a lot of the chicken we eat doesn't taste like very much.

It has a taste clearly but it is pretty bland and in many dishes is overpowered with various other flavours; herbs, spices, pancetta.


I don't eat a lot of chicken though so this is not really my thing. - BUt I think a lot of dishes could use this instead of chicken and noone would notice a thing. And it at least doesn't appear to have too many random chemicals in it.
posted by mary8nne at 7:11 AM on August 1, 2012


And, to answer my own question, according to Wikipedia it's a commonly used food dye.

Hopefully when I eat it it implants into my bones. If only they used adamantium dioxide instead.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:11 AM on August 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


People who thing chicken doesn't taste like much have obviously not eaten chicken in a very long time.

That, or they are getting a brine-infused roaster, or the boneless, skinless slabs of meat called 'breasts.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:12 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, I was wondering why they have Titanium Dioxide in there.

It is, apparently, food coloring E171.
posted by griphus at 7:13 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to see one of those major league competitive eating contests witha round of this
posted by Bwithh at 7:13 AM on August 1, 2012


I don't know if this is the game-changer or not, but the company that is able to market a product that tastes extremely close to chicken or beef will become a huge business.
posted by gagglezoomer at 7:16 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It tastes like...despair.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:16 AM on August 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Personally, I was wondering why they have Titanium Dioxide in there.

Same stuff that whitens your powdered donuts.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:17 AM on August 1, 2012


I guess this is great for those who go vegan/ vegetarian for strictly health reasons, but as a long term vegetarian, this kind of thing squicks me out - too much processing, and what the hell are they using to bridge that uncanny valley.

Agreed. I no longer consider myself a vegetarian but the few times I find myself eating meat it's usually in small quantities, often just to be polite. (Not to mention that sushi bars are about the only place where you can get a reasonable serving these days.) Meat is no longer as big of a squick for me but I'm not that interested in the six-ounce slab as the center of my meal. And I prefer other ways of building seasoning or stock.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2012


molecicco: "The easiest way to do this is to feed "soy meal and other vegan ingredients" to chickens.

Yes, but this process requires less resources (such as water and fuel, and of course the soy itself). Plus it costs less to the consumer in the end.
"

Plus you don't have to kill a chicken to get the meat out. I don't have a problem with that, but if the product was a good I would consider the lack of chicken killing a small plus.
posted by Reverend John at 7:19 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


For those who, sadly, don't get the joke.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:19 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, almost anything can be labeled "processed." Think about the processing that goes into baking a loaf of multigrain bread. What's going on here really isn't THAT much more process-intensive, and unless you can identify something that happens in the processing that produces a less nutritious end-product I don't really see the harm.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:20 AM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


It has a taste clearly but it is pretty bland and in many dishes is overpowered with various other flavours; herbs, spices, pancetta.


I just had unseasoned baked chicken last night and I thought it was quite delicious. There wasn't even salt on it. I think maybe some people just taste it differently than others, is all I can gather. Plus, the quality of chicken matters as well.
posted by Malice at 7:20 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's some sort of chicken nugget that I've eaten at a number of vegan Chinese restaurants over the years that is uncanny in its similarity to chicken. This is a non-story, or only a story because a white person finally figured out the recipe.

And if Beyond Meat is located in Maryland why aren't there any shops within 45 minutes of Baltimore selling this stuff.
posted by cloeburner at 7:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


What's the nutritional tradeoff? Can athletes reliably switch to this product?

Vegan bodybuilders.
posted by notyou at 7:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have all of this advanced food technology, and it all just goes toward trying to make something as much like meat as possible. Why not use the technology to make something as good as possible? I mean, meat is fine and all, but why restrict yourself to that one direction?

There is novel food engineering, but it seems to mostly fall at the very high end (molecular gastronomy, restaurants you can't afford) or the very low end (Doritos Cool Ranch Flavored Jello Jigglers that dance when you microwave them! or whatever). Somebody needs to engineer some awesome new ingredients. Requirements: edible, awesome, unlike whatever else we already call food. Go.
posted by whatnotever at 7:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Speaking of TiO2 .. it turns out that in a pinch you can make a pretty functional solar cell from powdered donuts and tea.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:22 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


this kind of thing squicks me out - too much processing

It's all a spectrum, right? Tofu is a highly processed product too, with very similar lists of ingredients. What matters is what the additives are and how much of the food and nutrient value is lost in the processing.

There's a real market for anonymous cubes of protein with mild tastes, whether tofu, paneer, chicken or white fish. This just looks like another industrial food attempt at one to me.
posted by bonehead at 7:24 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: Anonymous cubes of protein with mild tastes.
posted by griphus at 7:25 AM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


the amount of processing on this, along with the use of soy (which has issues of its own and after a health scare has now been disinvited from the lfr household) is what concerns me.

I work at a peptide manufacturing facility. I'm not a scientist but I do work closely enough with them to understand that the process of folding/unfolding proteins to make the bonds available to link up to create other complex chain molecules and compounds is frightening, and requires spectacularly toxic industrial solvents, among other things. Just the power and water use of our facility could run a reasonably-sized town comfortably.

I guess my question is, what's the total ecological footprint of the (I assume) factory farming of these crops, plus the acquisition of the chemicals, plus the water and fuels spent in processing / transport of something like this, plus the chemicals required to produce it, versus say, having a few humanely raised chickens of your own eating the bugs out of your garden.

I guess it kind of sounds like hybrid cars and agave nectar - one of those things people tell you is so great and organic and whatnot until you look into the total footprint/picture required to create them, and realize this is all just another marketing boondoggle.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:25 AM on August 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Strangest damn things. They're man made. Little damn things. Smaller than my fist. But they're new!
posted by anazgnos at 7:26 AM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


griphus: “Wait, so is it going to sell for less than the price of chicken or for less than the price of chicken at Whole Foods? That's sort of an important distinction.”

Wish I had a cite for this, but I remember reading interviews with the creators a few months ago when they announced it. Their goal is to gradually push the price point down – first, below the price of Whole Foods chicken, then below the price of chicken at other stores when it is introduced there. Seems like a good plan, and I'd pay Whole Foods chicken price just to get it off the ground. Now if they'll just start selling this stuff at Whole Foods outside of California...
posted by koeselitz at 7:27 AM on August 1, 2012


"Also, yeah, you can tell the texture is bad just by looking at it. Just file this one away with those gag-worthy Morningstar Farms chicken strips."

I can't actually tell what food tastes like without tasting it, personally. I suspect this is true of many people as well, otherwise cottage cheese, which frankly looks like a bowl full of liposuctioned cellulite, would not be a popular food item.

I'm in favor of withholding judgement on how things taste until I try it, but to each their own, I guess. (Dr. Seuss is with me, so I feel justified. I will try it on a boat. I will try it with a goat.)
posted by kyrademon at 7:28 AM on August 1, 2012 [17 favorites]


Okay, I freely admit that I like meat analogues. I do. I love wheat gluten/mock duck-in-a-can, I really like those Tofurkey italian sausages, I am a total sucker for many of the mock-meat things you find in a large and well-stocked pan-Asian grocery store. If Quorn were vegan, I'd eat a lot of Quorn, mycoprotein or not. I know that it's appropriate to say that one is not a vegan for the fake meat and that of course one likes beans and quinoa and so on much better, but hey, I really like fake meat products. I'm sick of lying, metafilter. I mean, my meals are generally centered around other sources of protein, but I am a regular consumer of tofurkey products.

So anyway, if this works like meat and isn't death on the environment, I'm down. Honestly, fatty pieces of high protein food are what I miss most about vegetarianism and meat eating. Nuts are not the same. Beans, god knows, are not the same.

(Also, I think that some of this "but it's fake meeeeeaaaat, ew so unnatural, not like a factory-farmed chicken" business is a bit silly. Tempeh, tofu and wheat gluten have been around forever and have proper gastronomic histories and are certainly no more unnatural than cheese or sour cream.)
posted by Frowner at 7:29 AM on August 1, 2012 [31 favorites]


Soy? If you're a guy, I hope you enjoy the free estrogen and gyno that comes with it.
posted by unixrat at 7:30 AM on August 1, 2012


I'm morally opposed to food that pretends to be other food. Just make a yummy thing out of the food you have.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:31 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


People who thing chicken doesn't taste like much have obviously not eaten chicken in a very long time.

Or they've had "chicken fingers" for lunch.

Industrially-processed chicken chunks and a fully-adult, free-range grain-fed roast chicken are not the same thing at all.
posted by bonehead at 7:31 AM on August 1, 2012


from article: “Brown's process uses new technology to turn soy meal and other vegan ingredients into a finished product that mimics chicken meat.”

chavenet: “The easiest way to do this is to feed ‘soy meal and other vegan ingredients’ to chickens.”

Or humans. That would work, too. I hear the similarity is uncanny.
posted by koeselitz at 7:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Also, vis-a-vis the tofu thing: don't the studies suggest that tofu, soybeans, tempeh and other less-processed soy foods are good for you, anti-carcinogenic, etc and that Morningstar soyprotein patties and their ilk are the health problem? I thought there were studies that pretty sharply showed that in countries where people eat tofu and tempeh that seems to have a protective effect but in countries where people consume soy via soyburgers it is dangerous.)
posted by Frowner at 7:32 AM on August 1, 2012


I have at times been vegetarian and am largely a herbivore now, but I just don't get the appeal of fake meat, especially when there are so many non-meat foods that are incredibly tastylicious without trying to masquerade as something else.

If you're meatless solely for health reasons, isn't it more enjoyable to have a little meat as a special treat now and then rather than torturing yourself regularly with a flaccid imitation? And the "it's revolting to eat the rotting flesh of dead animals, so instead, I will savor a product that . . . simulates the shape, texture, and flavor of rotting dead animal flesh."

Well, to each his/her own. I'd probably appreciate ersatz meat more if most soy products didn't give me the howling fantods.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:33 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just had unseasoned baked chicken last night and I thought it was quite delicious. There wasn't even salt on it. I think maybe some people just taste it differently than others, is all I can gather. Plus, the quality of chicken matters as well.

FYI, a lot of the commercial chicken you buy in stores today (especially boneless breast meat) are injected with additional broth and salt solutions.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:34 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


what's the total ecological footprint of the (I assume) factory farming of these crops, plus the acquisition of the chemicals, plus the water and fuels spent in processing / transport of something like this, plus the chemicals required to produce it, versus say, having a few humanely raised chickens of your own eating the bugs out of your garden.

Textbook case of false equivalence. Who wouldn't prefer to have a smiling chicken named Henny Penny that scratched around adorably in the sunlit yard?

Perhaps a better comparison would be to a large-scale poultry factory, with gigantic pits of fouled water running into the river and truckloads of discarded beaks being burned at the incinerator?
posted by Aquaman at 7:34 AM on August 1, 2012 [25 favorites]


I've already had awesome fake meat nuggets and other fried forms of fake chicken. Vegetarian's Paradise II in NYC (I don't know why it's number 2, but whatever) has some of the best chicken nuggets on the planet.

Their fake beef is a real let down.

Everyone talks about fake chicken, but that's been done over and over, at least so far as the texture, and honestly, when you fry up chicken, how much are you looking for the flavor?

I'm waiting on fake beef.

And no love for mock duck/wheat gluten?

On preview- Frowner nails the history that I was going to go on about.
posted by Hactar at 7:34 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The easiest way to do this is to feed "soy meal and other vegan ingredients" to chickens.

"Easy" according to what metric? Not energy efficiency, that's for sure.
posted by DU at 7:35 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Frowner: “Also, vis-a-vis the tofu thing: don't the studies suggest that tofu, soybeans, tempeh and other less-processed soy foods are good for you, anti-carcinogenic, etc and that Morningstar soyprotein patties and their ilk are the health problem? I thought there were studies that pretty sharply showed that in countries where people eat tofu and tempeh that seems to have a protective effect but in countries where people consume soy via soyburgers it is dangerous.”

I've never heard of a study like that; moreover, it sounds dubious. There are no countries where people primarily consume tofu via soyburgers, so it'd have to be a pretty highly-targeted study.
posted by koeselitz at 7:35 AM on August 1, 2012




The other day, I was at a medieval music festival where they were serving authentic medieval delicacies which had been made in the area for a thousand years or so using local ingredients -- veggie burgers. (They were made out of Grünkern.)
posted by kyrademon at 7:37 AM on August 1, 2012


Malice: “I just had unseasoned baked chicken last night and I thought it was quite delicious. There wasn't even salt on it. I think maybe some people just taste it differently than others, is all I can gather. Plus, the quality of chicken matters as well.”

Thorzdad is right – that chicken almost certainly wasn't unseasoned, even if you didn't season it yourself.
posted by koeselitz at 7:37 AM on August 1, 2012


People who thing chicken doesn't taste like much have obviously not eaten chicken in a very long time.

Yeah, the guy who writes the food related columns and does the cooking videos for the NYTimes doesn't know what chicken tastes like. You're poo-pooing the flavor of something you've never tried based on a photograph.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


peppermind: “I guess this is great for those who go vegan/ vegetarian for strictly health reasons, but as a long term vegetarian, this kind of thing squicks me out - too much processing, and what the hell are they using to bridge that uncanny valley.”

notyou: “Yeah, the too much processing bit is definitely squicky. At least the sodium looks relatively under control (8% of the RDA per serving), for a machine made food thing.”

Some may have missed this, but the reduction of processing is also a goal of Beyond Meat. As I recall, they've already eliminated processed soy from their other prototype meats, and hope to eliminate soy from their fake chicken as well.
posted by koeselitz at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2012


I've never fully understood the desperate need for a viable meat substitute when there is, say, the whole amazing world of vegetarian cuisine from India, in which you never think "well, this would be better with a big wad of hyperprocessed 3D-printed magical texturized soy protein smack dab in the middle of my plate" as you're exploring the realms of what thirty spices can create in your mouth when deployed in a matrix of lentils.

I think people have this idea that fake meat is going to be the gateway drug to vegetarianism, while also working as a palliative for vegetarians who just can't stick to their moral/environmental/cosmological guns, but I just don't see it.

I know lots of omnivores who regularly eat those gawdawful nightmare patties from Morningstar Farms and whatever those Dr. Somethingorother patties are they they sell at Trader Joe's that taste like penitence on a bun, but generally, the people I know who eat these things are not foodies and veer in the general direction of think of food as existing on a spectrum of sinfulness. I also find that the people I know who are joyous, engaged, contented vegetarians without an incessant political axe to grind, don't bother much with fakery, because the limitation of not eating meat is a limitation in the way that saying "I'm imprisoned on this planet, because I can go anywhere but Mongolia" is. There's just so much real out there—why spend so much time on the surreal?

Mind you, in one of my longer stints as a vegetarian (ovo-lacto, as cheese is proof that there is a loving force of the divine in the universe and a well-turned fried egg sandwich is the most perfectly zen meal for the beginner mind), I spent quite a while perfecting my own recipe for a vegetarian scrapple. It was a fruitless task, because vegetarians aren't clamoring for a scrapple substitute and meat eaters wrinkle their nose at sausageless sausage dish, but man, I got awfully close. In the end, it became a thing I made for myself, and it's not exactly as good as scrapple, but I've let it diverge until it becomes its own thing.

I'm sure the pseudomeats will get closer, but I'm just not convinced they really serve anything but a sort of political purpose, because they're less natural in the long run than things we think of as already being pretty unnatural. To each their own, though.
posted by sonascope at 7:45 AM on August 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


when you fry up chicken, how much are you looking for the flavor

If it's a processed nugget, not a lot. If it's a thigh? A fair amount.

I think it really boils down to how you're cooking your chicken. When I eat chicken I tend to roast or grill a whole free-range chicken seasoned only with oil, salt and pepper (sometimes with a Sinaloa style marinade), eat the legs and thighs (because I think dark meat doesn't reheat as well), then use the rest of the chicken over the next several days in various other recipes. Could mock chicken suffice for those subsequent recipes? Maybe. Depends on the recipe. Will it be anything like the legs and thighs straight out of the oven? Pretty unlikely. Do I think that a good enough mock chicken could be developed to taste indistinguishable from chicken nuggets? Probably.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:46 AM on August 1, 2012


That's awesome, Tube. Just like the Native Americans -- nothing wasted!
posted by notyou at 7:46 AM on August 1, 2012


Plz. post vegetarian scrapple recipe.
posted by griphus at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Tofu and breast cancer: Here is a PubMed link to one of the studies I've seen. I've seen a bunch of other similar ones but don't have time to google around for them - this one is pretty characteristic.

Here is a crappy Dr. Weil link that discusses a U of I study which suggests that "highly purified" soy products, ie soyburgers, raise some cancer risk. Again, pretty typical study results.

I looked into this pretty seriously when I was reading up on paleo, which seems to have weird macho "soy=estrogens=feminization" trope that I wanted to investigate.

I think that for a lot of people it's difficult to accept dietary stuff that runs counter to what they want to believe - I know that I tend to be more skeptical of high-protein/paleo than is warranted, and I think that a lot of people who are really into eating meat are more skeptical than is warranted about research on soy protein. I say this sincerely - god knows you can eat whatever you want, I don't feel that food evangelism is a good engine for social change, but maybe we can all aware of our pre-existing biases.
posted by Frowner at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh, my comment about tofu studies was in response to
I've never heard of a study like that; moreover, it sounds dubious. There are no countries where people primarily consume tofu via soyburgers, so it'd have to be a pretty highly-targeted study.

posted by Frowner at 7:50 AM on August 1, 2012


"Easy" according to what metric?

"Easy", when the metric is getting something that tastes like chicken.

FYI, a lot of the commercial chicken you buy in stores today (especially boneless breast meat) are injected with additional broth and salt solutions.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

FWIW, the packaging will tell you if it is or isn't.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:51 AM on August 1, 2012


To y'all who are being skeptical: I get your skepticism. I'm a devoted omnivore who spent hours last night melting a bunch of ribs into a sort of barely coherent puddle, in a larger, more vinous puddle. I love finding the best flavour and texture that meat can offer, and frankly, I derive that pleasure whether it's raised well or not. Ethics have a hard time penetrating my taste buds.

But this

"People who thing chicken doesn't taste like much have obviously not eaten chicken in a very long time.

Also, yeah, you can tell the texture is bad just by looking at it. Just file this one away with those gag-worthy Morningstar Farms chicken strips.
"

and this

"The easiest way to do this is to feed "soy meal and other vegan ingredients" to chickens."

to me, are indications of a certain point at which skepticism isn't skepticism, it's just rooting for the omnivore home team. There is nothing magical about the chicken that produces an invisible Flavor Field that gives it that efflorescent chicken-y taste. It's a bundle of proteins. If we can more or less replicate those proteins with science, we get chicken.

It fooled Mark Bittman, if you didn't RallTAs. It fooled him while it was hidden in a wrap, but still -- that's goddamned impressive. It's enough to make me curious, if not unskeptical.
posted by insteadofapricots at 7:52 AM on August 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


w/r/t broth injection, I actually watched an episode of How It's Made on the making of deli meats (including chicken) and I am a lot less weirded out by the process than I was before.
posted by griphus at 7:53 AM on August 1, 2012


Frowner: “Tofu and breast cancer: Here is a PubMed link to one of the studies I've seen. I've seen a bunch of other similar ones but don't have time to google around for them - this one is pretty characteristic.”

Er – did you notice that that study says that eating tofu seems to prevent breast cancer?

from abstract: “Risk of breast cancer decreased with increasing frequency of intake of tofu after adjustment for age, study area, ethnicity, and migration history; the adjusted OR associated with each additional serving per week was 0.85 (95% CI = 0.74-0.99). The protective effect of high tofu intake was observed in pre- and postmenopausal women. This association remained after adjustment for selected dietary factors and menstrual and reproductive factors.”

I agree completely that we should be careful about food evangelism. I also think we should be careful about another impulsive attitude here – the attitude that it's all the same, and that there are health risks no matter what we eat. While it's not easy, I think it's important to consider what's healthiest for us. And, yeah, that study seems to indicate that tofu has "a protective effect."
posted by koeselitz at 7:55 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


You had me at "other leading meat analogues."
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:56 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never fully understood the desperate need for a viable meat substitute when there is, say, the whole amazing world of vegetarian cuisine from India, in which you never think "well, this would be better with a big wad of hyperprocessed 3D-printed magical texturized soy protein smack dab in the middle of my plate" as you're exploring the realms of what thirty spices can create in your mouth when deployed in a matrix of lentils.

You're a delight to read as always, sonascope, but I have to take issue with this a little bit. I love Indian vegetarian cooking. But it's just not the thing I grew up with. It's not my food culture. There's an attachment to my Jewish mom's chicken soup -- cliche though it is -- which isn't going anywhere. I remember now, typing this, the way it used to fill our kitchen with this delicious fatty fog. And the schmaltz on toast the next day. Meat is part of the cultural makeup of a lot of people. It's as arbitrary as any other cultural makeup, but also just as real -- I also happen to like the smell of a lady who uses nice shampoo, and smooth tracking shots, and the sight of cream denuding in coffee, and thick globs of paint on a canvas. There's nothing elemental about this that couldn't ultimately be replaced, but to a certain degree, it's what I am. If I can get that catered to in a way that's better for the environment than real meat, that would be nice.
posted by insteadofapricots at 8:00 AM on August 1, 2012 [15 favorites]


We've settled on homemade bean-cakes and store-bought quorn as our fake-meats of choice.

It's not uncommon for pubescent boys to develop temporary lumps of breast tissue in response to the wildly fluctuating hormones of that stage of life ... even so, I stopped cooking with soy products when my 12-year-old vegetarian son said "uh, mom, what's this weird bump?" The kid didn't even like tofu, but soy is in everything.
posted by headnsouth at 8:03 AM on August 1, 2012


They are replacing chicken with ingredients that trigger migraines for me (yeast extract, "natural flavoring", and probably the protein isolates). This is not going to improve my health.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 8:07 AM on August 1, 2012


"I also find that the people I know who are joyous, engaged, contented vegetarians without an incessant political axe to grind, don't bother much with fakery ..."

I'm sorry, but this is silly.

You never hear this complaint about felafel, or bread, or cheese, or meringue, or sausages, any other method of processing a food so that the taste and texture are different that happens to have been around for a little while. But if it's a little newer then OMG FAKE what is WRONG with you for eating it.

Being able to have a whole bunch of different kinds of proteiny things I can cut up and put in the pasta and serve to my (vegan, weightlifting) sweetie is awesome. The tastier and more varied the texture, the better. "Imitating" meat is a sales tactic ("this tastes like something you already know tastes good"), and I'm fine with that. The mutability of soy and wheat gluten and arrowroot and all that are as nifty as the mutability of wheat flour (Bread and cakes and piecrusts and pasta ...)

Wanna talk about Indian cooking? Paneer don't come like that right out of the water buffalo.
posted by kyrademon at 8:07 AM on August 1, 2012 [23 favorites]


I guess this is great for those who go vegan/ vegetarian for strictly health reasons,

Isn't this backwards? It seems like it's great for people who go vegan/vegetarian for strictly moral reasons, since they can eat their chicken without killing an animal.
posted by smackfu at 8:08 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Er – did you notice that that study says that eating tofu seems to prevent breast cancer?

Okay, we are talking totally at cross purposes here. The point I was trying to make was precisely that tofu seems to prevent breast cancer (and IIRC reduces risk for several other kinds of cancer and chronic illness) but that soyburger/highly processed soy protein seems to raise some kinds of cancer risk. Those two studies are discussing different kinds of soy consumption - that was exactly what I was trying to show.

"Highly processed" soy protein is not considered the same as tofu, miso or other traditional soy products.

So basically, yay tofu, boo Morningstar soy patties.
posted by Frowner at 8:09 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The company is pushing for stores to stock its meat at the meat counter, alongside real chicken, instead of next to the tofu.

Huh, at my local store they stock the meat substitutes alongside the real meat. Mind you, I'm living in the Netherlands.
posted by Pendragon at 8:10 AM on August 1, 2012


Frankly, I'd just like a well-textured meat substitute that I want to eat in great enough quantities (tofu, I'm looking sternly at you) and that lets me take in enough protein. It absolutely defies explanation, because I'm not big and I don't train super-hard, but when I'm weight training with any kind of regularity, even if I'm sleeping plenty and eating enough calories with an okay macronutrient balance, I feel like absolute ass unless I'm eating enough meat. I've tried increasing eggs, dairy, beans, and as much soy as I can eat and not hate life, but nothing works like meat.

If Beyond Meat can fill that gap, I'd feel less-bad about the moderate quantity of factory-farmed meat that I do wind up eating just because I like hamburgers.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:11 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, at my local store they stock the meat substitutes alongside the real meat.

I think a lot of vegetarians would be opposed to that actually.
posted by smackfu at 8:13 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


from Mark Bittman
When you take Brown’s product, cut it up and combine it with, say, chopped tomato and lettuce and mayonnaise with some seasoning in it, and wrap it in a burrito, you won’t know the difference between that and ..
.. proper use of the word "burrito".

Put the (fake) chicken salad into a sandwich, with mayonnaise, or, if you wish, butter on the sliced bread itself. But if you wrap it, wrap it in a tortilla or flat bread.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 8:14 AM on August 1, 2012


Frowner: “So basically, yay tofu, boo Morningstar soy patties.”

Heh. Yeah, I can agree with that. Sorry I misunderstood your last comment.

To be completely honest, the main reason I was initially skeptical is because I don't know anybody who'd actually willingly eat those soy patty things. Seriously, they look frightening, and tofu fried in a pan actually tastes pretty damned good in sandwiches. So, er – yeah.

Personally, I can say this – I am highly skeptical of those paleo people who insist that tofu=estrogen. Phytoestrogens like isoflavones don't just exist in soy products; they're also in meat – and the simple fact is that a typical meat-eating American consumes vastly more isoflavones than even a tofu-eating vegetarian does, just because of the proportion of meat in our diet. If this were a problem, it would have been seen before.
posted by koeselitz at 8:14 AM on August 1, 2012


I'm a fan of some "meat-analogue" products but I tend to see them more as "yummy spiced seitan" than "failed sausage." I feel the same way about Quorn. It's a lightly spicy vegetable product with a pleasant firm texture, not failed chicken.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:15 AM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


All carping aside, if they can produce meat substitutes that are cheaper than the real thing and acceptable to a large percentage of the population, that is a huge boon for the planet. Huge.
posted by LarryC at 8:15 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


.. proper use of the word "burrito".

Dude, you don't know, maybe Bittman is making a metarrito.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:16 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm still holding out hope that quorn will be available in Canada soon; I liked it better than real chicken for processed chicken things like nuggets and chicken burgers.

Let's hope this makes it over the border tool; looks yummy.
posted by NiteMayr at 8:16 AM on August 1, 2012


This is not going to improve my health

Which is why it's a genuine tragedy that you're being forced to purchase and consume it.
posted by aramaic at 8:19 AM on August 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


maybe Bittman is making a metarrito

maybe it's not a Bittman Burrito until it's rolled up in a blueberry pancake, dipped it in batter and deep-fried it until it's golden brown; then served in a commemorative tote bag filled with spicy vegetarian chili.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 8:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Gardein fakein strips are fairly good. I like keeping them in the house laziness emergencies, and since they're frozen they basically last forever.
posted by elizardbits at 8:21 AM on August 1, 2012


From the 'freak you out' link: 'When you eat other leading meat analogues, they’re delicious'

I've eaten a fair bit of Quorn, I really don't trust someone who thinks it's delicious to do my tasting for me.
posted by howfar at 8:21 AM on August 1, 2012


Not all isoflavones are alike, soy ones particularly and process soy especially.

Pure vegan propaganda.

If you want to gamble your hormones on fake chicken nuggets, be my guest but don't pretend they're even remotely in the same ballpark as real chicken.
posted by unixrat at 8:23 AM on August 1, 2012


All carping aside, if they can produce meat substitutes that are cheaper than the real thing and acceptable to a large percentage of the population, that is a huge boon for the planet. Huge.

Yes, but really, why is so much effort put into creating fake meat, rather than using vegetable ingredients to make great-tasting, great-looking non-meat foods? To me, this is the same as vinyl siding: yes, it lasts longer than wood siding and doesn't need painting, but why is it mainly supplied in the form of fake wood? Why not not use the qualities of the material to create other architectural materials not possible in wood (we do this better with plastic furniture, for example). Analogously with food: we don't use wheat to make fake meat — we use wheat to its own best potential to make bread, cake and cookies. Why so much effort to use soy to make fake chicken and fake burgers?
posted by beagle at 8:23 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


sonascope: “I've never fully understood the desperate need for a viable meat substitute when there is, say, the whole amazing world of vegetarian cuisine from India, in which you never think 'well, this would be better with a big wad of hyperprocessed 3D-printed magical texturized soy protein smack dab in the middle of my plate' as you're exploring the realms of what thirty spices can create in your mouth when deployed in a matrix of lentils.”

I used to feel that way. But there's a restaurant here in Albuquerque called Thai Vegan which is, hands down, the best Thai restaurant I've ever eaten at. And there, they use their really incredibly convincing fake chicken, beef, and shrimp with incredible skill, replicating dishes that I would really have thought had some meat in them and doing it brilliantly. Their "seafood" pad thai is the best I've had, and it doesn't even have any meat in it; and their "shrimp" green curry is exquisite.

My understanding of the attitude of the place is that it's geared toward making it easier for new vegans to live the life the way they want to without having the pain of giving up foods they love. And that's something I can appreciate. I agree that there are plenty of vegetarian cuisines in the world to explore, but I also think it's just fine if fake-meat purveyors want to help those who'd like to ditch meat but don't know how.
posted by koeselitz at 8:23 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've never fully understood the desperate need for a viable meat substitute

The cool thing about it is that you don't have to fully understand other people's choices.
posted by headnsouth at 8:25 AM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


The cool thing about it is that you don't have to fully understand other people's choices.

Sure, but trying to is a decent way of being. Call it broadening your horizons, exposing yourself to new ways of thinking, exploring the world around you, whatever. I'd like to understand these things. I figure it would make me a better person, if only in a very miniscule way.

For me, all these "Why bother faking meat?" comments feel like, "Phew!" because I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn't understand the concept. I mean, hey, it doesn't hurt anybody and if you enjoy eating fake bacon and fake eggs and veggie burgers and now soy chicken then rock on, but I don't follow it. If you're opposed to meat, if you don't like meat, etc., then why try to simulate it?

I'm probably the only foodie in the world who doesn't like cheese. I also don't like mushrooms or truffles or Brussels sprouts or foie gras, and it has never occurred to me to fake these foods. I don't drink alcohol so I drink Coke and milkshakes and other awesome things, but not non-alcoholic beer or wine. Not judging...I just don't get it, is all.
posted by cribcage at 8:35 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember as a 70's vegetarian (I was a vegetarian for about twenty years) encountering fake bologna. My thought was: hey, baloney is one of the reasons I became a vegetarian in the first place. Ughh. Of course, this stuff was marketed by the only-a-little-weird Seventh Day Adventists, who have a rather strange theology behind their vegetarianism. I don't know if they still make all this weird faux meat or not.
posted by kozad at 8:38 AM on August 1, 2012


It doesn’t taste much like chicken, but since most white meat chicken doesn’t taste like much anyway, that’s hardly a problem

How on earth are you poor saps cooking your chicken? Chicken is definitely a distinct flavor, unless you roast it with a seasoning blend of despair and hopelessness.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:39 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The best-tasting meat-substitute patty I ever had was in a 'Hypocrite Burger' - bacon and cheese veggieburger. I don't think it was the patty.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:40 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fake beer: that's a pretty easy one. If you've been drinking beer for years and realize you have an alcohol addiction problem but still want a cold one now and then: presto! Kaliber! Better for you than sugar drinks.
posted by kozad at 8:41 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I approve of just about anything that gives meat-eaters a vegetarian alternative that satisfies their meat cravings.
posted by pracowity at 8:41 AM on August 1, 2012


> "... we don't use wheat to make fake meat ..."

Yes, we do. Any seitan product. We also use wheat for all those other things you mentioned.

Similarly, I can go to a store and by a chunk of tofu or edamame or yuba as well as an imitation chicken breast.

One doesn't eliminate the other.

> "If you're opposed to meat, if you don't like meat, etc., then why try to simulate it?"

Because if you oppose or don't like meat because you don't want to kill animals it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether you like or don't like the flavor of a general combination of tastes and textures?

Is that really such a bizarre concept?
posted by kyrademon at 8:42 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


If you're opposed to meat, if you don't like meat, etc., then why try to simulate it?

You could enjoy the taste -- be raised on it -- and yet not want to eat meat for reasons other than the taste.
posted by pracowity at 8:43 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK cribcage, here ya go: I grew up with a slab of meat on the plate. So a bowl of lentils and rice is delicious to me but doesn't make me feel as though I've eaten. My son, on the other hand, vegetarian since age 6, has grown up with lentils and rice, so a slab of fake meat on the plate doesn't do much for him. It's cultural/habitual/sensory/tactile.

But I've explained that to about 1,000 people over the years, and there is always someone else waiting in the wings to say "I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU EAT WHAT YOU EAT." It gets old.

Every single time I share a meal with someone new, whether out with friends, or in the breakroom at work, or at a dinner party, or on a date, somebody comments on my food choices. Not always in a negative way, but my plate becomes an object of interest every time I eat in public.

And when someone frames my food choices as a "desperate need" to do one thing or another (as the post I responded to did), then they're not really interested in understanding anyway. They're just interested in pointing out how wrong it is.
posted by headnsouth at 8:43 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


cribcage: “For me, all these ‘Why bother faking meat?’ comments feel like, ‘Phew!’ because I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn't understand the concept. I mean, hey, it doesn't hurt anybody and if you enjoy eating fake bacon and fake eggs and veggie burgers and now soy chicken then rock on, but I don't follow it. If you're opposed to meat, if you don't like meat, etc., then why try to simulate it? I'm probably the only foodie in the world who doesn't like cheese. I also don't like mushrooms or truffles or Brussels sprouts or foie gras, and it has never occurred to me to fake these foods. I don't drink alcohol so I drink Coke and milkshakes and other awesome things, but not non-alcoholic beer or wine. Not judging...I just don't get it, is all.”

So, er – you were really under the impression that the only reason people become vegetarian is because they don't like the taste of meat?

“If you're opposed to meat, if you don't like meat, etc.”

Again, did you really think "if you're opposed to meat" and "if you don't like meat" were the same thing? Were you really not aware that some people are the first but not the second?
posted by koeselitz at 8:45 AM on August 1, 2012


Well, whatever its merits or demerits, fake chicken does contribute to the effort to help millions and millions of sentient beings avoid this. It would also appear to be beneficial in the fight against global warming:

“The entire goal of today’s international climate objectives can be achieved by replacing just one-fourth of today’s least eco-friendly food products with better alternatives,” co-author Robert Goodland, a former World Bank Group environmental advisor wrote in an April 18 blog post on the report.

A widely cited 2006 report estimated that 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry. However, analysis performed by Goodland, with co-writer Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, found that figure to now more accurately be 51%.

Consequently, state the pair, replacing livestock products with meat alternatives would “have far more rapid effects on greenhouse gas emissions and their atmospheric concentrations — and thus on the rate the climate is warming — than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.”
posted by Karmadillo at 8:47 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I found fake meat creepy when I was vegetarian, and I find it creepy now that I am eating meat. I love meat, and I love lentil soup, but I just can't get with the fake stuff, any more than I want to eat fat free sour cream.
posted by Forktine at 8:49 AM on August 1, 2012


I'm an omnivore married to a pescatarian; she doesn't like most meat substitutes that are too meat-textured, but we both like the vegan chorizo at our local breakfast place.

But if the reason I don't eat something is that I don't like it (e.g. lima beans), then I'm not going to eat a fake/substitute version of it. If I don't eat it for some other reason - health, farming practices, etc. - and there's a substitute without those drawbacks, then yeah, I'll eat the substitute.
posted by rtha at 8:51 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't wait for this product. I love meat, but try to eat quorn and other products like it. They're both expensive (which isn't the worst, but really... double the price of chicken?) and kind of off on taste.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:52 AM on August 1, 2012


I wonder if this will behave as badly with my intestines as TVP (textured vegetable protein) does. If I eat it, I spend the next 24-36 hours hovering over my chair.

As long as Beyond Meat isn't made by the Beyond Corporation© I'm all good.
posted by mrbill at 8:53 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The easiest way to do this is to feed "soy meal and other vegan ingredients" to chickens.

It's certainly not easiest on the chickens.

I would consider the lack of chicken killing a small plus.

And the chicken would consider it a large plus, etc etc.

Also, yeah, you can tell the texture is bad just by looking at it.

Ah, this ^^^ is about about the level of open-mindedness I get from most carnivores, but disappointed to see it here.

I don't have a whole lot of interest in it, but glad to see they are making advances (if it's not all just marketing.)

Can athletes reliably switch to this product?

Athletes don't NEED this product go go vegan.

I've been meaning to do a post on vegetarian athletes, as it is Olympic time. For some odd reason, a LOT of bodybuilders are vegetarian. Go figure.

Related:

My Vegan Marathon.

This ESPN story on vegetarian athletes covers (future NFL Hall of Famer) Tony Gonzalez, MMA fighter Mac Danzig, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, and MLB star Prince Fielder (who is no longer (or maybe ever was) vegetarian).
posted by mrgrimm at 8:53 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


“Wait, so is it going to sell for less than the price of chicken or for less than the price of chicken at Whole Foods? That's sort of an important distinction.”

I think the bigger question is will Whole Foods even sell this stuff? I thought the stores had strict prohibitions on foods with artificial coloring.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:54 AM on August 1, 2012


Whole Foods is already 'selling this stuff.'
posted by koeselitz at 8:55 AM on August 1, 2012


Do you people also look down on Fanta (which was developed as an imitation of of pre-existing sodas), beet sugar (which was developed as an imitation of pre-existing cane sugar), and such like?

I mean the whole question just seems odd to me. "Why on EARTH would people want to EAT something that TASTES JUST LIKE something you LIKE THE TASTE OF? It is STRANGE and BIZARRE to me and I cannot CONCEIVE of your reasons!"
posted by kyrademon at 8:57 AM on August 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Okay, I freely admit that I like meat analogues. I do. I love wheat gluten/mock duck-in-a-can, I really like those Tofurkey italian sausages, I am a total sucker for many of the mock-meat things you find in a large and well-stocked pan-Asian grocery store.

Hear, hear. Say it loud and say it proud. Are you really going to settle for a vegetable kabob or crappy garden burger at a barbecue? Bring the Hickory BBQ Riblets, yo.

Whole Foods is already 'selling this stuff.'

Interesting. They obviously allow (certain types of?) caramel color and "natural" coloring, but I don't know how they distinguish. "E171" certainly seems "artificial" to me.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:00 AM on August 1, 2012


chavenet: “The easiest way to do this is to feed ‘soy meal and other vegan ingredients’ to chickens.”
----
Or humans. That would work, too. I hear the similarity is uncanny.


Not sure where you heard that... human flesh is called 'longpig' for a reason, and it's not because it tastes like chicken.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:02 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I look forward to trying this new thing and adding to the overall confusion of people who don't get understand!
posted by orme at 9:03 AM on August 1, 2012


Do you people also look down on Fanta (which was developed as an imitation of of pre-existing sodas), beet sugar (which was developed as an imitation of pre-existing cane sugar), and such like?

Speaking as a carnivore, it's not the attempt at imitation that bothers me. I actually love tofu and beans and other vegetable proteins. What bothers me is that they're taking soy powder and turning it into something chicken-like. It just seems like it's taking another step away toward treating food as nothing but a series of molecules and mistaking nutrition for health. But then again, I'm suspicious of mineral supplements and vitamins too, so that's just my own personal hangup.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:07 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread makes me think there might be a viable market for making tofu substitutes out of processed chicken, so I could be a secret carnivore.
posted by chavenet at 9:07 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can understand the vegetarians for whom vegetarian involves a measure of disgust or revulsion at the thought of meat; I'm not one of them. Meat makes me think, "Tasty, but also not food for me!" And while I eat a bunch of lentils and beans and tofu and vegetables, it is pretty nice to have Quorn in the freezer, especially when I don't feel like cooking.

Bring on the fake chicken; I hope it's as great as they say.

...And doesn't give me horrible migrains like Boca and Morningstar burgers do.
posted by Jeanne at 9:09 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This ESPN story on vegetarian athletes covers (future NFL Hall of Famer) Tony Gonzalez, MMA fighter Mac Danzig, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, and MLB star Prince Fielder (who is no longer (or maybe ever was) vegetarian).

Arian Foster just went vegan as well.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:09 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


You never hear this complaint about felafel, or bread, or cheese, or meringue, or sausages, any other method of processing a food so that the taste and texture are different that happens to have been around for a little while. But if it's a little newer then OMG FAKE what is WRONG with you for eating it.

This analogy doesn't quite work, though. Observe:

falafel: "processing" involves mashing cooked beans and frying them. The diner is fully aware that the product is mashed beans, and was meant to be mashed beans.

meringue: "processing" involves whipping and cooking egg whites. Egg whites are not edible in their raw state, and the diner knows it is a tasty treat made of egg whites. The cook is also thinking "awesome, I have another way to use up extra egg whites!"

cheese: "processing" involves exposing milk to bacteria and aging. The diner is aware that it was once milk and this is just a yummy thing that happens to milk, and is eating it because they happen to like that particular kind of yummy-thing-that-happens-to-milk.

bread: this is one of the only ways that some grains can even be made edible in the first place.

In all those cases, you know that what you're eating is the thing itself. Yes, it's a different shape and size and texture from its original state, but you still know what it is. Some foods require processing in order for us to be able to ingest them; processing isn't a bad thing in and of itself.

Sausage sort of comes close to what I think you're getting at, though - it's a way to use up the bits and bobs and scraps and stuff from a butchered animal in such a way that you don't necessarily have to be confronted with the fact that you're eating what once was meat from the tail or the eyelid or whatever, because some people just get all oogy if they think of that too much. (One of the weirdest food quirks I ever encountered was a guy who only ate meat if it didn't....look like meat. Chops and roast chicken was out, but ground beef and sausage and nuggets, no problem.) However, sausage is still meant to be meat, at the end of the day. The objection to this kind of processing, I think, it's that it's a whole new level of alteration -- they're not just changing a taste or a shape or a texture, they're attempting to go a step further and disguise the very function.

In other words -- yeah, you do something very different to milk in order to make cheese, and cheese is different from milk, but the point of cheese is not "ooh, let's see if we can make them forget they're eating a dairy product at all!"

(Mind you, the "why" of why someone would want something that eats like meat but isn't meat is a different issue, and I got no problem with someone wanting a meat subsititute. I'm only addressing the "why are people freaking out about this kind of processing when we process milk to make cheese" question, as they're not quite the same thing.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I came to the blue I didn't know what a fantod was. This thread made mine start to quiver about halfway down, when it began to scream. My second ex-wife used to say that she'd never eat anything that had a face. Political vegans, please notice that, although I am not a vegan, I never eat anything that has a face, either. I cut that part off first.

Burn off the hair and knock off the horns, then slap it between two buns, add onions, lettuce, a little mayo. Oh, and another serving of them beans, if you please. Not a huge beef fan, but I like fish and pork. Can't have a successful barbecue without skinning a couple of pigs. While I'm at it, yard chickens are the best. Industrial chickens suck big time. Now that I'm no longer on the ranch I usually buy game hens. Hmmm--tasty. Or else we make chicken soup out of what passes for fryers in the supermarket. You cool it and skim off the fat before you put in the dumplings.
posted by mule98J at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Listen to me, Hatcher. You've gotta tell them! BEYOND MEAT IS CHICKEEEEN!
posted by xedrik at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


For decades, I've eaten "crispy duck" and "fish curry" et al at the Buddhist vegetarian Chinese restaurants in Singapore and their stuff is superb, flavourwise, texturewise and lookswise. I'm now getting curious to find out how they do it.
posted by infini at 9:23 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'm in. I live in Northern California and will eat this for lunch. I will report back to this thread.
posted by purpleclover at 9:24 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


People who thing chicken doesn't taste like much have obviously not eaten chicken in a very long time

I grew up in a third world country. The chicken there were scrawny with nary a meat on their bones. Sure...it could be the novelty of it at the time, but gosh darn it, those chicken tasted so much better than the fat ones I have here in the States.
posted by 7life at 9:26 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Enough about greenhouse gas emissions, what I really want to know is if someone who has similar um...sensitivity to most legumes can confirm whether or not this will produce the same flatulence.
posted by melissam at 9:30 AM on August 1, 2012


I would assume that, since they're not doing anything to break-down the complex carbohydrates that cause musicality, that this would be as bad for sensitive guts as any bean product.

And yes, that increases one's personal GHG emissions.
posted by bonehead at 9:38 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't actually tell what food tastes like without tasting it, personally.

I said texture. Not taste. Texture does play a role in taste, because if as much as I love cheesecake, if it had the texture of snot it would be disgusting.
posted by Malice at 9:43 AM on August 1, 2012


While I await artificially grown meat, this sounds like another good product (at the moment, I'm a big fan of Quorn products--mentioned in the article).
Does anyone know if the question of whether soy protein (in most fake meat) lowers testosterone or increases estrogen? I've seen reports saying yes, and others saying no.
posted by whatgorilla at 9:44 AM on August 1, 2012


But if the reason I don't eat something is that I don't like it (e.g. lima beans), then I'm not going to eat a fake/substitute version of it. If I don't eat it for some other reason - health, farming practices, etc. - and there's a substitute without those drawbacks, then yeah, I'll eat the substitute.

Two thoughts:

1) Lima beans. I don't really like 'em either, but, during a succotash experiment with Kattullus, I discovered that dried lima beans had a much better flavor to me than fresh or canned lima beans (well, after they were cooked) -- basically, they tasted more like pinto or kidney beans and less like green beans (which can be delicious, but also have a bit of the "grassy flavor" I don't like so much in fresh lima beans).

2. "Fake meat." I don't eat "fake meats" because they are fake and I want meat; I eat them because they provide a specific flavor and texture. I like seitan and put it in a lot of things. It's pretty easy to make, so I can spice it as I see fit, so that is a nice bonus. I use vegan sausages of various types in dishes that call for sausage because it fills a texture that the dish needs (like lentils and wine-poached sausage), but I can also make that same lentil dish with nothing meaty at all, putting it on greens and adding some feta to top it off. Sometimes I want one, sometimes the other.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:46 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if the question of whether soy protein (in most fake meat) lowers testosterone or increases estrogen? I've seen reports saying yes, and others saying no.

It will depend on the % of your diet it is, the composition of the rest of your diet, and your current health status. The studies aren't terrible conclusive, but show that some men will experience a drop in testosterone, but often consumption of soy protein corresponds with adopting a new diet or exercise regime, which can also do that.

BTW beer made with hops (which is 99.9% of beer) has more phytoestrogens than soy.
posted by melissam at 9:54 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still waiting for vat-grown meat to become commercially viable/available.
posted by symbioid at 9:58 AM on August 1, 2012


Of course, my "why?" is subjective, which is why I ended my comment with "to each their own."

Still, for me, the big question should be framed as "why eat something that is processed and processed and reprocessed instead of something that's already food?"

You never hear this complaint about felafel, or bread, or cheese, or meringue, or sausages, any other method of processing a food so that the taste and texture are different that happens to have been around for a little while. But if it's a little newer then OMG FAKE what is WRONG with you for eating it.

The difference between felafel or bread or cheese and most of this fake meat is that felafel and bread and cheese are made out of basic whole foods separated from the final product by a step or two.

When someone says "Paneer don't come like that right out of the water buffalo," it's problematic for me because I can make paneer at home, without additives and synthetic chemicals and a giant Hobart computerized mixing machine. Making "realistic" chicken at home would require a home chemistry lab, with mountains of equipment and a huge gulf between when the ingredients were in an even remotely natural form and when they become this sort of analogue for something they're not. Granted, I eat some gross overprocessed crap now and then, but I don't think of it as a substitute for anything but the love of a good man.

I'm not particularly stuck on people being "wrong" for eating things, except for food specifically marketed to stupid people like Lunchables and Uncrustables. I'm just genuinely curious as to what the appeal is, given that vegetarians generally have some interest in the quality and origin of their foods and weird engineered foods seem to violate all the rules of being interested in the quality and origin of food except that they aren't animal meat. Cooking is processing, but there's light processing and there's this sort of thing, which is just such a complicated and extreme level of processing when simpler, cheaper, and less industrial alternatives produce results as good or better without all the production.

There's a decent vegetarian place near where I live that does a good business in the fake meat department, and I've had some of those dishes, which are not bad, but when I just eat food that's food, I'm never thinking "well, that's almost as good." Obviously, I'm not their target market, but it makes me wonder how many vegetarians have a sense of being impoverished by the lack of such things in their diet. It's just a judgment as much as it's a shrug.

Hell, I put milk in my root beer, so I get that sometimes it's just a personal taste thing.
posted by sonascope at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also - didn't they say this same shit about Quorn when it came out? I'll believe it when I see it/taste it.
posted by symbioid at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2012


I'm still waiting for vat-grown meat to become commercially viable/available.

this is called the offspring of the proletariat and it is only not ethically viable
posted by elizardbits at 10:00 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


why is so much effort put into creating fake meat, rather than using vegetable ingredients to make great-tasting, great-looking non-meat foods?

But there is a lot of effort put into making great-tasting vegetarian foods. It's pretty indisputable that over the past decade the availability of good produce for consumers and good vegetarian foods at restaurants has increased dramatically. For example, the number of farmers markets across the country has exploded, and we have chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi, an omnivore who has staked his reputation on making outstanding vegetarian dishes.

But there are still some people who want "fake meat," and it's not an either/or proposition. There's no reason we can't have both.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 10:01 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Those Snackwells Devil's Food cookies are the best.
posted by griphus at 10:02 AM on August 1, 2012


Making "realistic" chicken at home would require a home chemistry lab, with mountains of equipment and a huge gulf between when the ingredients were in an even remotely natural form and when they become this sort of analogue for something they're not.

Chinese buddhists have been making mock-meat from soy for a very long time, and they have been doing so quite happily without large industrial laboratories.
posted by yoink at 10:04 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am going to get on my cardboard bike and pedal down to the city to trade some of my turnips for this.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:07 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just genuinely curious as to what the appeal is, given that vegetarians generally have some interest in the quality and origin of their foods and weird engineered foods seem to violate all the rules of being interested in the quality and origin of food except that they aren't animal meat.

Other people have already answered this, but for me, for example, there is no vegetable equivalent of a hot dog or sausage or brat on a grill. And because I grew up eating those things, there are certain times, such as at a fourth of July party, where I want to recreate the experience. Fake meat sausages do the trick on those occasions. But it's not like I want to eat them all the time. Most of the time I'm interested in eating vegetables qua vegetables.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


basically, they tasted more like pinto or kidney beans

I'd be inclined to just use pinto beans then, probably. I feel vaguely bad that I don't like lima beans, but I try them every couple of years or so to see if I like them yet and nope, still don't like them. A guest at Thanksgiving a few years ago brought a lima bean dish that he swore was fantastic, and since it was lima beans mashed up with lots of butter and cheese and salt and pepper, I figured, well, how can I not like this? And I still didn't like it. Which is okay, I guess, given the huge variety of other beans available for me to overthink.
posted by rtha at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm, Whole Foods is already selling products with titanium dioxide because it's not an artificial coloring any more than sodium chloride is an artificial flavor. Our world is full of countless natural chemicals, many of them perfectly safe to put in food.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:18 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Three points:

1. If you think fake meats are weirdly processed, then you haven't thought about how tofu or seitan or tempeh are made. Or haven't made them yourself. Once you realize what goes into making tasty seitan yourself, you won't think many (any?) of these ingredients are that weird. Or at least you'll realize why "natural flavor" is often an ingredient or why colors and such are added. Also, if you haven't had Field Roast, you should try some. That stuff is awesome. And as someone who grew up on meat, it's great to have choices that satisfy the "big hunk of protein plus vegetable sides" template I largely grew up with.

2. Health concerns about soy just seem like not worth worrying about at this point. Lots of people have been eating soy for millenia, the studies showing issues with estrogen (generally) contradict each other and you could also easily cite different health problems with meat eating (but, again, the research is contradictory for that too). The issue of GM is just absurd: the balance of studies show current GMs are just like their non-GM versions as far as human and animal health go.

3. Land use with "fake meat" is obviously an improvement over most modern animal production where we grow grains and soy to make food for humans rather than feeding the grains and soy to animal which we then kill and eat (cost in processing might be different, but I'm referring to agricultural costs). Basically, unless you're only eating meat from animals raised on marginal lands where human food can't be grown, your meat is likely a less efficient source of calories than eating vegetable products. Shorter version: it's silly to worry about industrial corn and soy being used as inputs to fake meat if you're eating industrial chicken or beef (or eggs or milk).
posted by R343L at 10:19 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess this is great for those who go vegan/ vegetarian for strictly health reasons

I would love to, but food just doesn't feel like food to me unless I know some poor, defenseless creature was slaughtered in the process. Wake me up when Beyond Meat figures out how to extrude this into a chicken shape and animate it.
posted by phunniemee at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everything in its own place and time. I'll eat a Gardenburger or Morningstar sausage thing now and then. I also read pulp, watch bad movies, and listen to cheesy pop now and then. My occasional choice to eat a junk-food product says nothing about my usual choice to eat recognizable vegetables.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:22 AM on August 1, 2012


BTW beer made with hops (which is 99.9% of beer) has more phytoestrogens than soy.

As a home brewer, while hops is certainly among the more flavorful ingredients in beer, in my latest batch, I used a total of 5 ounces of hops with 23.5 pounds of grains.
posted by xedrik at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a home brewer, while hops is certainly among the more flavorful ingredients in beer, in my latest batch, I used a total of 5 ounces of hops with 23.5 pounds of grains.

I think the "99% of beer" meant "99% of beer is made with hops"--not, "99% of the make-up of beer is hops."
posted by yoink at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread makes me think there might be a viable market for making tofu substitutes out of processed chicken, so I could be a secret carnivore.

Very similar to my longstanding product plan for FauxFu.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2012


If you think fake meats are weirdly processed, then you haven't thought about how tofu or seitan or tempeh are made.

Well, I've made a bunch of seitan, basically using the method this woman uses (and ridiculously enough because my local health food store is run by evangelical nitwits who explained that they won't sell seitan because it sounds like "Satan"), and it's a process about as natural as churning butter. No industrial machinery involved, no synthetic chemical-induced mergers or separations—just mushing around a big wad of wheat goo until it turns into a big wad of stringy gluten goo.

When I make butter, too, it's simple. I pour a few cups of heavy cream into a quart mason jar, put Firefly on the Roku, and shake the jar. By the time Inara is locking Saffron into the space dumpster, the cream has gone from sloshing to fluffy to thudding around in a big sweet buttery wad. One ingredient, one process, and a two new foods (sweet, sweet actual non-fake buttermilk...). When I'm feelin' fancy, I add a bit of fine salt and a bit of kasoori methi that I've ground into molecules with my mortar and pestle.

Mind you, I'm increasingly motivated by a desire to reduce steps and processes and points at which foods can be adulterated and deprived of their natural goodness. It's a particular taste in how to eat, and one I think is pretty well supported by science, but if people want to eat plastic fantastic future food fibersticks with Genuine Chicken Personalities™, I can't really object too strongly. It just seems complicated and unnecessary to me, but again, there's all sorts of ways in the world.
posted by sonascope at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


From Slate link in FPP:

Brown’s long-term goal is to offer a product that can satisfy the world’s growing, and largely unsustainable, demand for meat, especially in ballooning markets like India and China.

If they can pull that off, it will be a very big deal.
posted by philipy at 10:54 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Y'all realize that things like "add baking soda" and "heat until browned" are processes that set off all sorts of enzymatic/molecular/chemical changes, right?

I work in food R&D and absolutely agree that a ton of our food is worse off because of industrial processing, but if we're going improve the quality of the food supply people need to get over the idea that things they understand/are familiar with are good, while the mysterious things that happen in factories are inherently bad.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:58 AM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


PubMed: Identification of a potent phytoestrogen in hops (Humulus lupulus L.) and beer. - 'This phytoestrogen can also be detected in beer, but the levels are low and should not pose any cause for concern.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2012


I'm just genuinely curious as to what the appeal is, given that vegetarians generally have some interest in the quality and origin of their foods and weird engineered foods seem to violate all the rules of being interested in the quality and origin of food except that they aren't animal meat.

As long as you see all vegetarians as having "generally" the same point of view about their own diets, you won't find an answer that satisfies your curiosity, however genuine. Vegetarians are as varied in their points of view as any other class of people. There are three vegetarians in my house; all three choose not to eat meat for very different reasons.
posted by headnsouth at 11:07 AM on August 1, 2012


One should note, by the way, that the NYT article linked above points out that this fake chicken is created with a surprisingly simple process:

from article: “All of this got me down to Cumberland, Md., where Brown’s pilot facility is housed, to make some 'chicken' myself. The process mimics that of pasta, breakfast cereal, Cheetos and, for that matter, plastic. I poured some powder into a hopper — in this instance, soy and pea protein, amaranth, carrot fiber and a few other ingredients (not many, mostly unobjectionable and of course no antibiotics) — and an extruder mixed it with water, applying various temperatures and pressures to achieve the desired consistency.”

So it really doesn't seem like this is some crazy mysterious industrial process – pretty much run-of-the-mill (literally) food production.
posted by koeselitz at 11:08 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


As long as you see all vegetarians as having "generally" the same point of view about their own diets, you won't find an answer that satisfies your curiosity, however genuine.

Well, I don't see all vegetarians as having a point of view, which is why I used the word "generally," and I think it's appropriate, since making the choice of a diet that is outside the mainstream is a pretty clear indicator that there is some level of additional interest in the quality and original of food. There are all sorts of vegetarians. I would suspect finding a rationale for vegetarianism that doesn't somehow involve some level of deeper thought on the subject of food would be difficult, if you rule out the finicky eaters who just don't like meat.

There are lots of potato chip and junk food vegetarians who just leave out meat, but eat horrid, processed junk food. I'm not really speaking about them because I don't have the remotest idea of why anyone would eat like that. Of the people who've put some thought into it, I feel like there's a contradiction between the intentionality of a vegetarian diet and the artificiality of industrial meat substitutes. That's pretty much my whole point. Some people don't find that hard to reconcile, and that's okay, too.
posted by sonascope at 11:19 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gadzooks, those of you who don't "understand" fake meat haven't thought it through.

Like to cook? Use other people's recipes? Ever notice that so many of them require meat? Instead of saying, "Well, I can substitute shitake/seitan/etc. for the chicken slices," (which generally works badly), it's so much more convenient if you have an exact or nearly exact substitute.

This also goes for a restaurant. If they have a good substitute, they don't have to create new veggie dishes, they can have the exact same dish with a different protein. Aces!

Like bacon but don't eat meat? There are some really good fake bacons - I frankly like them better than real bacon (because they don't have the gristly bits you sometimes see, and because I like pigs).

Going to a barbecue? Fake hamburgers and hot dogs fit in perfectly - you can just throw them right on the grill.

In my mind, the only hope for the tuna is a really convincing fake tuna...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Buddhist vegetarian chefs have become extremely creative in imitating meat using prepared wheat gluten, also known as "seitan" or "wheat meat", soy (such as tofu or tempeh), agar, and other plant products. Some of their recipes are the oldest and most-refined meat analogues in the world. Soy and wheat gluten are very versatile materials, because they can be manufactured into various shapes and textures, and they absorb flavourings (including, but not limited to, meat-like flavourings), whilst having very little flavour of their own. With the proper seasonings, they can mimic various kinds of meat quite closely. Wiki link

This is all I could find in the weirdly mushy mass that is Google these days. Where to find more on this?
posted by infini at 11:23 AM on August 1, 2012


I'd love to see a good fake hot dog, and you'd think it would be a pretty easy thing, given that hot dogs are already processed to the point of absurdity, but every one I've ever had ended up being a bit like eating a steaming hot meat-and-smoke-flavored tubular gummy bear on a bun. You can doll them up with great relish and mustard and onions and cheese and other niceties to make them palatable, but at that point, you may as well just leave out the steaming hot meat-and-smoke-flavored tubular gummy bear and just enjoy a nice veggie thingie on a bun. Mind you, I'm bitter from disappointment in this regard, so my opinion may be tempered with frustration.
posted by sonascope at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2012


I'd love to see a good fake hot dog,

Well I'll definitely agree with you on that. Fake sausage is nice with eggs on a Sunday morning, quorn makes deliciously chicken-y chunks that add protein and umami to soups and casseroles, and a marinated, grilled portobello cap makes for a lovely sandwich, but there is no such thing as a vegetarian hot dog worth eating. This baseball fan has resorted to french fries at the ballpark, and where I live they don't even have malt vinegar for the fries.
posted by headnsouth at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2012


There are lots of potato chip and junk food vegetarians who just leave out meat, but eat horrid, processed junk food. I'm not really speaking about them because I don't have the remotest idea of why anyone would eat like that.

They don't want to kill animals to eat food?
posted by inigo2 at 11:37 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


sonascope, headnsouth, have you tried any of the Field Roast sausage products? Because being married to a omnivore--I'm vegan--who craves things like greasy hamburgers/corn dogs/hot dogs, these products pass his test. (And the chipotle ones are pleasantly spicy!)
posted by Kitteh at 11:46 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


They don't want to kill animals to eat food?

No, I don't mean why they would not eat meat, but why they'd stop eating meat and then fill the gaps with nothing but cheesy poofs and potato chips and quesadillas and ridiculous processed garbage foods. I'm not making that variety of vegetarian up—they're sort of the people who eat as if they're four year-olds with a credit card and the ability to pick out their own diet in those tender years. Again, I find it confounding because I associate vegetarians with predominantly good eating choices, which may be at the root of my confusion. Maybe being a vegetarian has changed and I've just not noticed. Crazier things are possible.
posted by sonascope at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2012


I'm not crazy about imitation meat products for myself-- but I think a lot of the talking-past here is because there seem to be a lot of people who genuinely just can't grasp the idea of giving up a hedonic enjoyment on an ethical principle. Bizarre.
posted by threeants at 11:55 AM on August 1, 2012


No, I don't mean why they would not eat meat, but why they'd stop eating meat and then fill the gaps with nothing but cheesy poofs and potato chips and quesadillas and ridiculous processed garbage foods.

I mean, isn't it the same reason that people who eat meat also eat garbage foods? Why should vegetarians be held to a higher standard?
posted by inigo2 at 11:59 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


If they spend a disproportionate amount of time lecturing me during mealtimes on healthy food and how they are so much more healthy than meat-eating me, then yes, I will snerk a bit if they live at the bottom of a cheetos bag. Otherwise, I don't give a fuck what anyone eats as long as they don't snatch it off my plate.
posted by elizardbits at 12:04 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they spend a disproportionate amount of time lecturing me during mealtimes on healthy food and how they are so much more healthy than meat-eating me, then yes, I will snerk a bit if they live at the bottom of a cheetos bag.

Shouldn't this speech be delivered to meat eaters too?
posted by inigo2 at 12:12 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Shouldn't this speech be delivered to meat eaters too?

I've never heard any meat-eater (except for myself, because I'm a terrible, hateful person who talks about how delicious piggies are to anyone who will listen to me and how they are wrong for not eating the delicious piggies) proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet.

But I have heard that spiel from literally dozens of vegetarians and vegans.
posted by phunniemee at 12:16 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, I find it confounding because I associate vegetarians with predominantly good eating choices, which may be at the root of my confusion.

I think your sample size is small/biased. Especially when we were in our 20s, my vegetarian friends were just as likely to subsist on a diet of junk food as us omnivores, just with no meat. For a lot of them, vegetarianism was very much a political choice first, with the politics revolving around treatment of animals, not sustainability or healthy eating. There were a lot of nachocheesetarians; one vegetarian friend I had really couldn't cook worth a damn, so she ate a lot of boxed mac and cheese and so forth. I taught her how to make a simple veggie stir fry and other basic no-meat-less-junk-food meals.
posted by rtha at 12:17 PM on August 1, 2012


I've never heard any meat-eater proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet.

If you were vegetarian or vegan, I can guarantee you that you'd have heard such a spiel.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:22 PM on August 1, 2012 [15 favorites]


Of the people who've put some thought into it, I feel like there's a contradiction between the intentionality of a vegetarian diet and the artificiality of industrial meat substitutes.

1. Vegetarians are vegetarian for a variety of different reasons.

2. One of the things I find most annoying about discussions of diet is the willingness to play "gotcha" over the small, trivial, and occasional stuff. Some of us are not perfectionists who feel the need to put the perfect over the good.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:24 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gadzooks, those of you who don't "understand" fake meat haven't thought it through.

Like to cook? Use other people's recipes? Ever notice that so many of them require meat? Instead of saying, "Well, I can substitute shitake/seitan/etc. for the chicken slices," (which generally works badly), it's so much more convenient if you have an exact or nearly exact substitute.


I spent a long time being vegetarian. Meatless meals are a routine part of how I eat. And you can put me down as a person who does not get the attraction of fake-meat and the kind of meat-substitute cooking you are describing. The world is full of amazing and wonderful meatless dishes that don't involve imitating meat, and that taste better for it. It's like, why would you make fake chicken salad when you could eat a masala dosa?

But I'm all the time being served food at someone's house, or looking at what a coworker is eating for lunch, and seeing exactly the kind of dish you are describing -- "regular" (ie meat-based) American cooking with the meat removed and something odd added in its place. I guess it's comforting to people, and if they enjoy it more power to them. They can eat happily, and I can enjoy my puzzlement, and everyone comes out ahead, no harm done.

I've never heard any meat-eater proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet.

I used to get that all the damn time when I was vegetarian, and it was just as tiresome the first time as it was the last.
posted by Forktine at 12:27 PM on August 1, 2012


Shouldn't this speech be delivered to meat eaters too?

Sure, just as soon as they spend an entire tedious meal lecturing me, wholly unsolicited, on how they are healthier than I am because of their diets.
posted by elizardbits at 12:30 PM on August 1, 2012


chavenet: The easiest way to do this is to feed "soy meal and other vegan ingredients" to chickens.

molecicco: Yes, but this process requires less resources (such as water and fuel, and of course the soy itself). Plus it costs less to the consumer in the end.

Less resources at an industrial scale that can be commercialized in the current economic system. Costs less to the dumb consumer who only knows how to drive to WalMart (or possibly Whole Foods).

I've got no problem with the product or anything, but lets have some perspective here.
posted by Chuckles at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2012


I'd love to see a good fake hot dog, and you'd think it would be a pretty easy thing

Yeah, especially since I've had turkey kielbasa that is pretty darn close to real kielbasa. I don't know why they can't do the same with soy.
posted by smackfu at 1:01 PM on August 1, 2012


I think your sample size is small/biased.

Most definitely, as I'm not a medium-sized market research firm, but I do have a much larger percentage of vegetarians in my social circle than most, and because I work in the arts, my friends-of-friends circles are pretty veggie heavy, too. Bear in mind, when I was a teenager, being a vegetarian was still as shocking and weird as being gay or being a middle class white suburban buddhist in an evangelical household.

My niece is a particularly inspirational vegetarian in that it's completely natural to her, and has been since she declared at about six or seven that she was going to be a vegetabletarian, and, while she has her stretches of icky mac & cheese junkatarianism, she's just who she is. If you want to be a vegetarian, that's cool. If not, that's cool, too. She's heard the whole Atkinsy hurf durf schpiel on meat from our holy roller cousins in Georgia, learned the hard way that you never eat vegetables down there because Southerners don't understand that cooking vegetables with a ham hock makes them not vegetarian-safe, and really just shrugs it all off. She decided she didn't want to eat meat and has stuck to her guns for thirteen years.

When I gave vegetarism my first go, though, it was still pretty politicized, and I was essentially recruited by a roommate that said "if you eat animals just because they're dumb, why don't you eat retarded people?" with the gravity of someone very sure of his oh-so-wise statement. In college, there was a big confluence of vegetarians/PETA people, and I got booted out of our veggie rap circle after I broke the peace-vibe talking about scrapple (it's always about scrapple, I know, I've got a problem). We were having our veggie chat about the challenges of being tempted by meat and slipping from time to time, like meat-eating was a bloodier version of alcoholism.

"Oh, it's terrible—I slipped up and had a bit of chicken," a girl said, with grave emphasis. "I just found it in my mouth and there I was swallowing it."

"Essentially making your stomach into a grave," said the mean girl who ran these circles.

"Yeah. I made myself vomit, though, so it was okay. I may have swallowed some meat juice, but I smudged the room and made amends."

"Who else has slipped?"

I don't know why I raise my hands in these situations, but there I was.

"Well, I got a wild hair and ate a pound of scrapple two weekends ago."

The room was deadly silent. I heard a guy catch his breath in that weird way you catch your breath when you're trying not to puke.

"Do you think that's okay?" asked the mean girl.

"Well, no, but you know...it's hard sometimes. I just missed scrapple. You know—" I started, and this was another of those moments when I need to learn to just stop talking, "—you could have scrapple if we had a nationwide pig beautification program."

"What?"

"You know, like a nationwide pig beautification program, where pigs would get glamorous plastic surgery and we could make the leftovers into scrapple. No one would get hurt, pigs would be more beautiful, and we could have scrapple."

"Do you understand that people like you are why women get raped?"

"What?" I said. Apparently I'd strayed into the realm of patriarchal rape incitement through the gateway of humorous reference to swine improvement. I was just kidding, but aagh. Hell, I'm a fag, for chrissakes. The only unwilling partner I've ever had in my whole life is my own hand after I sat on it long enough for it to go to sleep. Plus, I'm fairly sure that joking about plastic surgery for farm animals isn't a big aphrodisiac.

Ah, the eighties—what a shrill, ugly, self-righteous decade.

It's not like that these days. I think I'm spoiled in that I'm completely surrounded by vegetarians who are ingredient-worshipping, craft-oriented foodies who brew their own kickass beers and make herbal yogurt cheese with herbs from their own gardens, and guys with backyard chickens for perfect eggs and girls with handbuilt wood-fired outdoor ovens for foccacia that'll bring tears to your eyes and gladness to your heart. I've had extraordinary meals prepared by paleovegetarians and salads thrown together from impossibly delicious weeds found in Baltimore vacant lots, and so I do have sort of a distorted view in that I expect this sort of approach to cuisine to be more broadly distributed among the folks who choose another path, rather than one of emulation and replacement.

I'll throw out a quick endorsement here, if I may—I've drifted through a few long stretches of being a vegetarian, and one of my favorite cookbook authors was Anna Thomas, who brilliantly articulated the notion that you shouldn't treat vegetarianism as a state of deprivation. Like Mollie Katzen at her best, they map out a whole world where you really don't have much time to consider what's not there.
posted by sonascope at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


I've never heard any meat-eater (except for myself, because I'm a terrible, hateful person who talks about how delicious piggies are to anyone who will listen to me and how they are wrong for not eating the delicious piggies) proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet.

I know that social circles vary tremendously, but I get a lot of the "LOL vegan I am going to eat this delicious pig meat now, ha ha can you hear the screaming pig?" routine. And I promise you that I very, very seldom mention my diet unless asked and literally never evangelize about food preferences out of the belief that social change doesn't come from individual consumer choice and hectoring.


(Honestly, this pisses me off on a personal level, and it horrifies me on an emotional level - although I never say anything. Pigs are really smart and have a lot of individual personality - it's intensely repulsive to me to hear someone chortling about their deaths. If you want to chortle about a lifeform with less complex consciousness, fine, I think it's tacky but I won't think less of you for going on about tiny shrimpy screams or the sufferings of the tilapia. But telling me how happy you are contemplating the violent, agonizing deaths of pigs is a bit like telling me how fun it is to watch elephants tortured to death - the creature in question definitely has enough consciousness to experience fear and loss and pain as well as attachment and happiness. I understand that bacon is tasty and that most of my underwear is made by slave labor in a sweatshop somewhere and I can't fight those battles every minute of every day, but I think less of people who stand up and cheer about the situation.)
posted by Frowner at 1:04 PM on August 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


It's like, why would you make fake chicken salad when you could eat a masala dosa?

Yes, because if you are going to eliminate meat from your diet it doesn't matter what yourr reasons are, you should therefore also give up everything familiar to you, learn to cook exotic dishes, and while you're ate it that's not even organic or locally grown, you hypocrite!
posted by headnsouth at 1:05 PM on August 1, 2012


Sure, just as soon as they spend an entire tedious meal lecturing me, wholly unsolicited, on how they are healthier than I am because of their diets.

When I was veggie people did this ALL THE TIME. Sometimes for lulz, sometimes out of genuine concern, but either way it never fucking ended. In comparison, every so often on metafilter I'll read a rah rah vegans post, or even more rarely meet some person who wants to discuss my personal relationship with vegetables. Far less intrusive, far less rude, and not nearly as common.
posted by Forktine at 1:09 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every time I think my dedication to global genocide is waning, all I have to do is read a vegetarian/carnivore or bicycle/car/pedestrian/motorcycle thread and all is well with my murderous, murderous world.
posted by aramaic at 1:09 PM on August 1, 2012


"LOL vegan I am going to eat this delicious pig meat now, ha ha can you hear the screaming pig?"

To be fair, I (and I'm pretty sure elizardbits, too) was saying that the lulz come from vegetarians who say that they're so much more ethical and healthier because they don't eat meat when actually they're junk food fiends, and that you (I) don't hear meat eaters saying that vegetarians would be so much more ethical and healthy if only they ate the screaming pig. Not the lolnobaconsux4u which I'm sure vegetarians hear all the time.
posted by phunniemee at 1:17 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never heard any meat-eater (except for myself, because I'm a terrible, hateful person who talks about how delicious piggies are to anyone who will listen to me and how they are wrong for not eating the delicious piggies) proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet.


BULLSHIT. I am a new-ish vegan (only a year on) and only talk about what I eat if asked. But many's the time when an omnivore decided to be a dick to me because they learned I was vegan.

I know there are a lot of dick vegans out there, too, but this preaching shit goes both ways. BOTH parties can be jerks. Here's the thing: I don't give a crap about what you eat and you don't eat give a crap what I eat, so why don't we just shut up and have a good time?
posted by Kitteh at 1:19 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I was a vegetarian I was absolutely told that I would be healthier if I ate meat.

A friend of mine who was vegetarian was told by her doctor that she should "eat a little bit of meat at least" like it was some kind of magical cure and only a little bit by itself would make her healthier.

If you aren't vegetarian you won't hear these things, that often, of course, but if you are, and it's obvious, you will hear it regularly.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:19 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


There was this askme recently, in which the poor OP was being subjected to what sounded like a psychotic omnivore.
posted by rtha at 1:24 PM on August 1, 2012


How different will this be from textured vegetable protein I wonder. At the local Buddhist places (Graceful Vegetarian in Markham just outside Toronto being my favourite) they use TVP and soy for mock meats and as noted above, such things have been happening for years.

If I remember correctly, TVP has a large place in prisons in the States as well.

In all cases I would say that the mock meats don't actually taste like the real thing, but they are just a great alternative. As soon as something is made to taste like something it is not it usually doesn't go well.
posted by juiceCake at 1:36 PM on August 1, 2012


There was this askme recently, in which the poor OP was being subjected to what sounded like a psychotic omnivore.

Nah, it sounds more like the OP was encountering a pure unconcentrated bitch. (Elsewhere in the OP's question they mention the woman trying to serve them meat was giggling on another occasion over how she'd served some observant Muslims some pork unawares.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:39 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be fair, I (and I'm pretty sure elizardbits, too) was saying that the lulz come from vegetarians who say that they're so much more ethical and healthier because they don't eat meat when actually they're junk food fiends

No, people - people I basically like, actually - have on numerous occasions made a point to tell me that they are eating meat (especially pork for some reason) and then made humorous reference to the pain that the pig experienced when it was killed, on the theory that this is a great way to tease the sensitive vegan. I mean, I know that they are not actually thinking about, and probably not especially familiar with, the awful way that animals are raised and slaughtered in mass meat production, but that almost irritates me more - they're having good fun being ignorant.

Again, I'm not a food preacher - food is a really charged subject for people and even when a person wants to make a big dietary change (any dietary change at all) there's all kinds of cultural, emotional and physical/psychic energy issues involved. I don't think that most people would find it especially easy to be vegetarian or vegan if they just tried - I think that people for whom it is easy are rare. I'm actually much more laid-back about meat stuff than the vast majority of vegans - my meat-eating housemate is allowed to cook meat in my fancy pans, for example, and I don't really give it a second thought.

While we're on the topic, I'm going to float the idea that this kind of jerkiness about animal suffering has something to do with gender. Not in a simple way, like "men do X and women do Y" but in a complex way, where being vegan or vegetarian is socially positioned as feminized and therefore inferior, and so it's socially appropriate for men and women to assert a kind of "masculinity"/macho by doing the whole "look I am so macho I do not care about pigs being eviscerated!" thing.

I think it annoys me because it's stupid as much as because it's callow and ignorant.
posted by Frowner at 1:41 PM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


sonascope if you are still paying attention to this thread I would like to reiterate my desire to have your vegetarian scrapple recipe.
posted by griphus at 1:45 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, people...

OK, so I don't want to make this a thing or keep talking about it because it makes everyone feel bad, but I just want to be clear that you are responding to the one thing I specifically said was not the thing I was talking about. That is all.
posted by phunniemee at 1:47 PM on August 1, 2012


Nah, it sounds more like the OP was encountering a pure unconcentrated bitch.

I dunno - not like the two are mutually exclusive. She's probably both!
posted by rtha at 1:49 PM on August 1, 2012


OK, so I don't want to make this a thing or keep talking about it because it makes everyone feel bad, but I just want to be clear that you are responding to the one thing I specifically said was not the thing I was talking about. That is all.

It does occur to me that it's very tempting to relive old hurts when one is talking on the internet. There's no particularly good reason for me to think about [the behavior which shall not be named] since none of those people are here and engaging in it.
posted by Frowner at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


While we're on the topic, I'm going to float the idea that this kind of jerkiness about animal suffering has something to do with gender. Not in a simple way, like "men do X and women do Y" but in a complex way, where being vegan or vegetarian is socially positioned as feminized and therefore inferior, and so it's socially appropriate for men and women to assert a kind of "masculinity"/macho by doing the whole "look I am so macho I do not care about pigs being eviscerated!" thing.

The nature of the flak I (female) get for not eating meat is usually an inquiry into all of my dietary practices, how healthy everything I put in my body is, why I eat what I eat and don't eat what I don't eat, and requests to justify my choices. (Not dissimilar to this thread.)

The flak my son (male) gets is more along the lines of you won't get enough protein if you don't eat meat, you'll be weak, no wonder you're so skinny, how much can you bench, that's why you can still hit the high notes.

There's an age/generation difference there too, but I think you're onto something there with the gender difference.
posted by headnsouth at 2:00 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


While we're on the topic, I'm going to float the idea that this kind of jerkiness about animal suffering has something to do with gender.

This is a sort of bizarrely western-centric statement, don't you think? Considering the over 30% of people in India who are vegetarian and do not seem burdened by these issues.
posted by elizardbits at 2:01 PM on August 1, 2012


phunniemee: “OK, so I don't want to make this a thing or keep talking about it because it makes everyone feel bad, but I just want to be clear that you are responding to the one thing I specifically said was not the thing I was talking about. That is all.”

You repeated an annoying stereotype that has almost no basis in real life – the stereotype of the lecturing, moralistic vegetarian. People responding by pointing out that meat-eaters spend a lot more time harassing vegetarians than vice versa. I think that was pretty fair.
posted by koeselitz at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a sort of bizarrely western-centric statement, don't you think? Considering the over 30% of people in India who are vegetarian and do not seem burdened by these issues.

Only if you assume that I'm suggesting that gender is performed identically across cultures and that gender anxieties are therefore expressed the same way across cultures. Or if gender were genetic/essential/innate and not cultural so that all men everywhere act the same because they all have something [can't be a y chromosome, right, because of trans men?] that makes them all act the same.

I didn't put in a "this is about gender as it is performed here in the US" both because I felt that it was implicit and because the rest of the conversation about norms around vegetarianism assumes that vegetarianism is practiced by a quite small minority - we're not talking about Indian vegetarian junk food (for example) anywhere else in this conversation, and I think that the whole shape of the discussion would be really different if it weren't about vegetarianism in the west. Folks have also referred to dahl and curry and so on in contrast with "ordinary" food, which suggests to me that the framework here is not one where people grow up eating those foods.
posted by Frowner at 2:16 PM on August 1, 2012


To continue, since I think it's important: something can be about gender or about race without reflecting everyone's experience of gender or race. I have experienced, for example, very little "girls need to [do their hair/shave their legs/show cleavage]" but I did experience a lot of very old-fashioned "we do not talk about those parts of the body and no one in this house will ever walk around in their underwear because it is inappropriate". That's pretty atypical for sexism in the developed west in the late 20th century, eh? And yet it's definitely about gender. It's just not about gender in the same way that it would be for a girl whose mother taught and enacted a lot of beauty culture stuff and where dad would sometimes be sitting around in boxers and a tee shirt.
posted by Frowner at 2:22 PM on August 1, 2012


In my mind, the only hope for the tuna is a really convincing fake tuna...

Salmon, too. Golden Era vegan restaurant (with Supreme Master TV on the big-screen, natch) in SF does a killer Pineapple Salmon (though for some reason it's left off their Specialities menu. It's either SP9 or SP10.)

If they spend a disproportionate amount of time lecturing me during mealtimes on healthy food and how they are so much more healthy than meat-eating me

...

I've never heard any meat-eater (except for myself, because I'm a terrible, hateful person who talks about how delicious piggies are to anyone who will listen to me and how they are wrong for not eating the delicious piggies) proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet.

But I have heard that spiel from literally dozens of vegetarians and vegans.


Hello, straw men. You've never heard anyone make the ridiculous claim that all of the vegetarians she knows are pale and sickly?

Here's the thing: I don't give a crap about what you eat and you don't eat give a crap what I eat, so why don't we just shut up and have a good time?

I absolutely do care what you eat. I think the needless slaughter of animals is hurting ourselves and our planet badly and that it is a major detriment to the future of human civilization.

To me, saying "I don't care what you eat" in 2012 would be like saying "I don't care how you run your plantation" in 1855. I would most certainly like to make the slaughter of animals for food illegal.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


While we're on the topic, I'm going to float the idea that this kind of jerkiness about animal suffering has something to do with gender. Not in a simple way, like "men do X and women do Y" but in a complex way, where being vegan or vegetarian is socially positioned as feminized and therefore inferior, and so it's socially appropriate for men and women to assert a kind of "masculinity"/macho by doing the whole "look I am so macho I do not care about pigs being eviscerated!" thing.

Oh, that's been one of my pet peeves for 25 years or so:

"Guys love going out for buffalo wings ... that is, when they're with ... the guys."

It's pretty minor as far as life offenses go, but it bugs the hell out of me, just b/c I'm sure that peer pressure prevents a lot of men from becoming vegetarian.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:52 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Carl's Jr.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:56 PM on August 1, 2012


I absolutely do care what you eat. I think the needless slaughter of animals is hurting ourselves and our planet badly and that it is a major detriment to the future of human civilization.

To me, saying "I don't care what you eat" in 2012 would be like saying "I don't care how you run your plantation" in 1855. I would most certainly like to make the slaughter of animals for food illegal.


I misspoke earlier. I do care about people eat; I am just so frustrated at having the same conversation or being harassed time and again when all I want to do is eat my food.
posted by Kitteh at 3:07 PM on August 1, 2012


Not to break up all the fightiness here, but I have sampled the product in question, and I would like to tell you about it.

First of all, in the context of the Whole Foods prepared food counter, "Beyond Chicken" is a hopelessly confusing name. In neat paragraphs and complete sentences, it's easy to parse, but in the sentence fragments that make up food labels it seems to be labeled "chicken." (Also one of the ingredients is something like "chicken flavoring -- maltodextrin, yeast extracts." I had just come from reading this thread and I knew it was vegan and I STILL did a double-take. Bad marketing.)

One guy behind the counter told me they had a bunch of it frozen on the back for $9.99/pound, but I'd have to wait 30 minutes for it to defrost. Since I had a baby with me who would not tolerate that, I declined. (He said they hadn't seen enough demand yet to keep it unfrozen, so people generally called ahead.)

Then I noticed that the Sonoma Vegan Chicken Salad behind the counter was clearly made with Beyond Chicken, so I got it on a sandwich ($7). There was definitely employee confusion going on.

I was not able to sample the product plain, only as a salad with vegan mayo of some sort, red grapes, onions, and pecans.

Texture-wise, you guys, it's pretty good. By far the best fake meat texture I've ever had. The flake, chew, and grain of it was remarkably similar to chicken breast. (I eat meat now, but was a vegetarian for 10 years.) So much fake meat has that glued-together, prechewed chicken nugget texture -- this was not like that.

Tastewise, Bittman is right that it's lacking. I do think chicken breast tastes like chicken (not nothing) and Beyond Chicken tastes more like nothing than chicken. It was, on the whole, not as delicious as a regular chicken salad sandwich.

That said, I would eat it again. I don't love the meat industry, and in the context of chicken salad? This was fine. (They also had a vegan curried chicken salad, but the labeling was unclear about wither the vegan chicken in question was Beyond Chicken, so I passed.).

Is it as delicious as a Zuni Cafe roasted chicken? No, no, no. Is most real chicken as delicious as a roasted chicken, though? No. This was certainly as good as a typical storebought chicken salad sandwich.

Reporting from Whole Foods,
purpleclover.
posted by purpleclover at 5:06 PM on August 1, 2012 [19 favorites]


Plz. post vegetarian scrapple recipe.

Sonascope, PLEASE, PLEASE, for the love of all that's holy, POST THIS RECIPE!!

You just can't GET scrapple here. And I miss it, dream about it, WANT IT BADLY!!!!!

5!!!!!s and 8 caps, you know that means I'm close to the edge, don't you?

Thank you purpleclover, for your efforts in the cause of Science.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:41 PM on August 1, 2012


You know what the sad thing is with that scrapple recipe—I put my notes away somewhere for safekeeping and promptly lost them around the same time I buried (and lost) a clay jar of homemade kimchi in my backyard that is either a twenty-one year pot of rotting horror or kimchi that will actually allow you to stride confidently across parallel universes. I have been gradually experimenting with the fragments of the recipe that come drifting back from my deep memory, and cross-pollinating it with details from the evolving superkickass (but decidedly non-vegetarian, though I use amazing Amish turkey sage sausage instead of pork because I watched Babe: Pig in the City recently and I get teary-eyed when I try to eat things made of what might be talking adventurous pigs) goetta recipe I've been honing to the frustration of my Cinncinatian ex who's pissed that mine's better than his.

My starting point was the basic scrapple recipe on page 236 of Julia Child's masturbatory epic picturebook, The Way To Cook, with the broth obvious replaced with a vegetarian broth (I like to use a broth made from cooking potato peels that would otherwise go straight into the compost pile) and the sausage replaced with a variety of things. I also use half buckwheat flour instead of all cornmeal because I'm a scrapple bigot and I don't care for that yellow, gamey deep Pennsylvania scrapple. In meatworld, my premade scrapple of choice is RAPA, out of Bridgeville Delaware, which is a slab of murderous grey heaven when it's cooked right (with extra wu wei and a ham knife) and I've offered them the exclusive endorsement deal to be the Official Scrapple of Joe Belknap Wall, but so far their PR people just find the offer confusing.

Anyway, I'm rambling—I never used pseudosausage products in my veg scrapple because the ones available twenty years ago were all like those canned Loma Linda horrors that were made of coagulated clinical depression, but there's some decent ones now that would be a good fit when chopped up and schlumped into the mix. I spent a long time trying out near misses like sauteed onions and turnipy root vegetables for a bit of bulk and texture, but never quite got that part right.

The big secret, and this won't be a secret to most ovo-lacto vegetarians, is smoked provolone. I discovered the stuff via David & Nikki Goldbeck's mid-eighties wholefoods cookbooks, in which they call it "cheeson," and it really does have this sort of magical meatlike quality when fried to the point of burning that's awfully reminiscent of bacon and other meats that exude huge gouts of grease when they cook. That magical crust that comes from real scrapple, cooked with a nod to the god of the never-washed spring steel crepe pan, can be very closely approximated by incorporating provolone into your friables, and the smoked variety adds another strata of familiar meatlike seeming unhealthiness in the service of coming up with an as-good for a peculiar regional dish. I usually used about a pound of provolone for a loaf, but again, the precise mixture is semi-lost.

Of course, I'm completely contradicting my resistance to the notion of fakery, though I consider it at least defensible that I'm emulating a food that's so weird and subconsciously gross (my dad would never eat it, because he said it probably incorporated pig assholes, though he was joyously scramble canned pig brains with eggs and eat them with ketchup like a very, very bad man). You tend to love scrapple if you were raised with it, and have incorporated a healthy layer of denial into your subconscious that allows for delight in its slabby providence. Just shifting the denial a few degrees seems in keeping.

I think maybe I need to do a little experiment this weekend and post what I come up with.
posted by sonascope at 8:04 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good to hear, purpleclover.

I just don't get the appeal of fake meat, especially when there are so many non-meat foods that are incredibly tastylicious without trying to masquerade as something else.

This is just absolute bullshit. Without meat analogues, it's really hard to eat the same iconic foods that everyone else enjoys, from hamburgers and pepperoni pizzas, to Australian meat pies, to chicken sandwiches, to Xmas turkey. Is it so hard to understand why vegans might want to eat these occasionally and not just live on dal or beans and rice every fucking day?

If you're meatless solely for health reasons, isn't it more enjoyable to have a little meat as a special treat now and then rather than torturing yourself regularly with a flaccid imitation? And the "it's revolting to eat the rotting flesh of dead animals, so instead, I will savor a product that . . . simulates the shape, texture, and flavor of rotting dead animal flesh."

Some ethical vegans find meat intrinsically disgusting, yes. Those ones don't eat fake meat. Many more eat it because they find the suffering disgusting, but not the actual taste of the food itself. Imagine you find out that a brand of chocolate is produced by child labour: do you suddenly start to vomit when you think about chocolate? Of course not; you look for a way of eating chocolate that involves less suffering. (And if that means compromising a little on taste, so be it).
posted by dontjumplarry at 8:25 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


You repeated an annoying stereotype that has almost no basis in real life – the stereotype of the lecturing, moralistic vegetarian.
posted by koeselitz 6 ¼ hours ago

--

I absolutely do care what you eat. I think the needless slaughter of animals is hurting ourselves and our planet badly and that it is a major detriment to the future of human civilization. To me, saying "I don't care what you eat" in 2012 would be like saying "I don't care how you run your plantation" in 1855. I would most certainly like to make the slaughter of animals for food illegal.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM





Juxtaposed without comment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 PM on August 1, 2012


This is just absolute bullshit. Without meat analogues, it's really hard to eat the same iconic foods that everyone else enjoys, from hamburgers and pepperoni pizzas, to Australian meat pies, to chicken sandwiches, to Xmas turkey. Is it so hard to understand why vegans might want to eat these occasionally and not just live on dal or beans and rice every fucking day?

It is hard for me to understand, actually. When I was vegetarian I wasn't interested in pretending my food was meat; now that I eat meat I'm not interested in pretending it isn't meat. Those "iconic foods" are predicated on factory farms and cheap meat -- it seems very strange to me to try and disconnect them from the social and historical basis on which they acquired their meaning.
posted by Forktine at 8:36 PM on August 1, 2012


I would like an imitation carrot made from real pork.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:04 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hear that, Forktine. But I think it's also kind of senseless to disconnect the emotional/neurological/cultural connection people have to Iconic Foods they grew up with. Most people have a much stronger emotional connection of "hotdogs mean cookouts with my family" than "hotdogs mean suffering animals."

So maybe pepperoni pizza reminds you of special occasions of some kind from your kidhood, and when you stop dating meat, it still has the association above and beyond what you've since learned about factory farming so you go with the veggie version.
posted by rtha at 9:16 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


sonascope: I guess we use different recipes. The ones I've used call for 10+ different ingredients that are basically only about improving flavor or color. Tomato paste, various salt or umami additives, various spices, etc. At an industrial level, the important parts of these ingredients become "artifiical" ingredients but often they are chemically very similar to the kinds of things I would add at home.
posted by R343L at 9:19 PM on August 1, 2012


Man, that's a he'll of a typo I made. Eating meat. Not dating meat.
posted by rtha at 10:02 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"and it’s unhealthy (that’s even true if you don’t eat it—there’s good evidence that the rampant use of antibiotics in livestock production has given rise to drug-resistant infections)."

How Your Chicken Dinner Is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug: Continuing to treat urinary tract infections as a short-term, routine ailment rather than a long-term food safety issue risks turning the responsible bacteria into a major health crisis.
posted by homunculus at 10:04 PM on August 1, 2012


So I just, uh... I just cut them up like regular chickens?
posted by flabdablet at 10:39 PM on August 1, 2012


I love this place. The quality of discourse is amazingly productive, if sometimes heated. You guys often stimulate me to work my way from one end of certain issues to the other.

1. A case can be made that growing beef cattle has become untentable. It works in small communities, but as a national (or international) industry, it consumes more energy than it provides. Chickens or even pork would be more economical, but, as our population density increases, they will eventually go the way of beef. Same with raising rabbits, rats and gerbils for food animals. We may need to rethink our place in the food chain if we don't figure out a way to do some ecological math: can't put ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag. Zero population growth is a good idea. A constantly expanding economy is a bad idea. (and so on.) So, vegans can make a reasonable economic argument for not raising meat commercially.

2. Killing animals for food is over-thought. A person who hunts for food, or raises his own food animals and slaughters them, can respect the life that he takes in support of his own. This makes him a killer, but not a murderer. Eagles eat rats, so eagles are killers. Horses eat grass, apples, and poison oak. People eat anything that draws breath or flushes water through its gills, and most things that grow from seeds. Some cultures have discovered the highly nutritional qualities of termites and certain ants.

3. I see a problem with the nimrod who enjoys inflicting pain and death on creatures without respecting the life he snuffs out. He is a sick fuck. I also have problems with slaughterhouses and chicken ranches--and the sick fucks that run them. (This actually limits the amount of meat I buy at the market, because it's a stick stuck in my ethical craw, and because the meat is inferior to home-raised beef, pigs, and chickens.) I have never killed an animal without realizing that I snuffed out not just a critter, but an entire universe. This doesn't make me spiritual, just mindful of how mortality works in all things.

4. Vegans can reasonably object to eating meat for nutritional reasons, and for reasons of taste (The thought of eating cooked blood nauseates them). A vegan, reasonably, may not have the stomache for killing an animal. However, a vegan can't reasonably justify veganism on moral grounds, without arguing that eagles are immoral for killing and eating rats. Most folks in this thread don't seem to be on any high horse about this issue.

5. About the beans: they are not half as musical if you soak them for a few hours in cold water, then change out the water before cooking them--low heat until they get very soft. Add garlic, onions, and the optional ham knuckle for nutrious marrow and to thicken the juice. I like to dice up a fresno chile and drop it in.
posted by mule98J at 10:57 PM on August 1, 2012


the chicken would have fooled me if I hadn’t known what it was

But has the author ever had real chicken, instead of just the inbred antibiotic- and hormone- stuffed battery chickens? that isn't even prepared properly
posted by porpoise at 11:21 PM on August 1, 2012


cloeburner - "some sort of chicken nugget that I've eaten at a number of vegan Chinese restaurants"

TVP, textured soy protein. The Taiwanese are absolute geniuses with it (or at least, the best TVP I encounter - by at least an order of magnitude - is invariably a product of Taiwan). Constellations of different textures and rainbows of flavours.

I *hate* cocktail weiners, but TVP cocktail weiners are heavenly.
posted by porpoise at 11:31 PM on August 1, 2012


You repeated an annoying stereotype that has almost no basis in real life – the stereotype of the lecturing, moralistic vegetarian.
posted by koeselitz 6 ¼ hours ago

I absolutely do care what you eat. I think the needless slaughter of animals is hurting ourselves and our planet badly and that it is a major detriment to the future of human civilization. To me, saying "I don't care what you eat" in 2012 would be like saying "I don't care how you run your plantation" in 1855. I would most certainly like to make the slaughter of animals for food illegal.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM

Juxtaposed without comment.


If mrgrimm had written that rape or slavery or child labour were morally unacceptable and should be illegal in 2012, you wouldn't accuse him of lecturing or being "moralistic". Why does it suddenly become unacceptable to raise an ethical objection -- in a firm, clear, polite way -- just because you personally disagree with it? It's not like he threw the topic into a thread about Radiohead covers; this is a thread about not eating meat.
posted by dontjumplarry at 3:32 AM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not like he threw the topic into a thread about Radiohead covers; this is a thread about not eating meat.

The claim on the floor was that "vegetarians do not lecture or make value judgements about how other people eat, it's only carnivores or omnivores who do that." mrgrimm's value judgements may have been polite, but they existed.

I do not make any claim that his judgements on others' eating habits aren't polite, or that they aren't valid or that they aren't well-timed or whatever. I only was pointing out that they exist, despite koeselitz's claim that such lecturing doesn't exist.

My ultimate point being - there are vegetarians in here who say "vegetarians don't say jack about what other people eat, but oh, there are plenty of judgy omnivores," and there are omnivores in here who are saying "there are tons of judgy vegetarians, it's OMNIVORES who leave people alone." But the truth is, that fortunately most people ARE leaving each other alone -- but that there ARE indeed a small number of outspoken people on BOTH sides, including our own side, and pretending to ourselves otherwise isn't doing ourselves any favors.

However, it is also good to remember that such people are not indicative of the whole of whatever your favorite culture in question; but rather, they are indicative of rudeness, and such rude people can be found in just about any group.

It is fair to comment in a discussion such as this, you're right. There are those who would say what mrgrimm said to someone who is eating at that moment, though, and that's generally a rude move. I don't mean to imply that mrgrimm does this, but there are a small handful of people who do, just as there are a small handful of omnivores who also are similarly rude. Rather than being all "that kind of person only exists on your side, but mine is perfect," let's all acknowledge that and take aside those people, even if they are on our side, and say "dude, you're going way too far, go take it down a notch and get some fresh air and chill out."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on August 2, 2012


"However, a vegan can't reasonably justify veganism on moral grounds, without arguing that eagles are immoral for killing and eating rats."

Wait, what?

An eagle neither has a choice in the matter nor the intellectual capacity to consider the issue. I do.

A tree is not immoral if it falls over and kills someone. A crazy person is generally not considered immoral if they accidentally kill someone thinking they were a bouncy castle instead of a person. A person who kills another person out of necessity to survive (e.g., someone is attacking them), is generally not considered immoral. The eagle would fall in the last category, primarily.

Your separation of a killer from a murderer on the grounds of "respect" is not one I make. If I kill 17 people but honest-to-gosh TOTALLY RESPECT them while I do it, I would still be considered a murderer. The distinction I make is whether I am killing due to accident, error, or necessity, or whether I am not. I have 21 years of evidence thus far that killing animals for food is not necessary for my survival.

You can agree or disagree, and that's fine, but saying that we can't "reasonably justify" our veganism in any way because there are creatures that exist which cannot make the choices and decisions we make is just incorrect.

I am not an eagle. Animals do plenty of stuff that humans consider immoral if humans do it, but not if animals do it, for just these reasons. I don't eat my young either, you know?
posted by kyrademon at 4:10 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]



This is just absolute bullshit. Without meat analogues, it's really hard to eat the same iconic foods that everyone else enjoys, from hamburgers and pepperoni pizzas, to Australian meat pies, to chicken sandwiches, to Xmas turkey. Is it so hard to understand why vegans might want to eat these occasionally and not just live on dal or beans and rice every fucking day?


I guess. I just find that whenever I eat a meat analogue, the meat eaters around me look on with a mixture of pity and horror. When I make delicious veggie kabobs or pizza on the grill, or bring out a great pumpkin lasagna or a veggie filo roll for Christmas dinner, the same people are intrigued, and ask if they can try some. For me, vegetarianism was less about depriving myself of foods, and more about exploring other, more humane options.
posted by peppermind at 4:15 AM on August 2, 2012


The claim on the floor was that "vegetarians do not lecture or make value judgements about how other people eat, it's only carnivores or omnivores who do that." mrgrimm's value judgements may have been polite, but they existed.

But for hours after the OP, and for dozens upon dozens of comments, they didn't. This happens all the time with controversial subjects.

Vegetarian-related OP.
Vegetarians: woohoo!
Omnivores: POKE-vegetarians are so moralistic about meat, why the hell can't they just eat meat!
Vegetarians: nah, not moralistic, got my reasons, but live & let live!
Omnivores: POKE-oh yes you are, you're so superior and besides you're not saving as many carbon emissions as you think you are!
Vegetarians: really, we just want to be able to eat what we choose to eat without drama.
Omnivores: poke
Vegetarians: stop poking. I don't go around talking about this all the time.
Omnivores: poke
Vegetarians: oh come on, do you have to poke me like that?
Omnivores: poke
Vegetarians: stop poking!
Omnivores: poke
Vegetarians: christ what an asshole. Fine, since you keep pushing me to justify my choices, here are my reasons: A,B,C
Omnivores: SEE?! I *told* you vegetarians were moralistic jerks.
posted by headnsouth at 4:22 AM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


But for hours after the OP, and for dozens upon dozens of comments, they didn't. This happens all the time with controversial subjects.

You're right, they didn't. And most of the time they don't. You will note that I also SAID that most of the time, most don't.

"No one side is completely devoid of zealots, even the side of the angels" was my point. The same is true of feminism, traditionalism, Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, theists, atheists, and even advocates for one or the other side of the how-to-hang-your-toilet-paper-roll discussion.

I just feel it's a mistake to say "oh vegetarians NEVER do that" when every omnivore in here has encountered at least ONE vegetarian who's done that. However - I also feel it's a mistake for the omnivores to then turn around and say "well, all vegetarians are judgemental" and needle vegetarians into acting defensive to prove their point, and I apologize if that second point wasn't clear.

I was just struck by the juxtaposition right there in the thread and it illustrated my own point, that "most vegetarians are sane, but judgy folks DO exist, just like they exist in every group, and it's not like the omnivores are making it up". I'm more than ready to acknowledge that there are dickish omnivores as well, after all.

What really prompted this was koeselitz's claim that "vegetarians NEVER act like that" because, uh, some indeed do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:39 AM on August 2, 2012


GRAR, MY FUD, GRAR!!!
posted by nowhere man at 5:53 AM on August 2, 2012


Just in case, for the record:

I just feel it's a mistake to say "oh vegetarians NEVER do that" when every omnivore in here has encountered at least ONE vegetarian who's done that.

Likewise, I also feel it's a mistake to say that "oh meat-eaters NEVER act like dicks to vegetarians" because every vegetarian in here has encountered some, and I'm an omnivore and even I know this. Some people can just seriously be real shits. Obviously, that's got nothing to do with whatever they're being shits about - they're just shits and are not representative of any one group as a whole.

But saying that "none of us do that" is inaccurate, and also not fair. Because, yeah.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


most of the time, most don't

People aren't good at dealing with fine points like that, so if it's a small minority of X that does Y, it's generally best not to mention it in the first place. Because if it's only a small minority, why would anyone make a fuss about that?

Chances are, if you think it's worth mentioning, while some small rational part of you knows it's a small minority, there is larger part of you that forgets that most of the time, is bugged about the behavior, and inclined to treat all X's as if they're likely to do Y.

koeselitz's claim that "vegetarians NEVER act like that"

As far as I can tell, the closest he said to that was that it was a stereotype with:

almost no basis in real life

"Almost no basis" is not "NEVER", and if you heard it as "never", that says something about you more than about him.

FWIW, and personal experience isn't really worth squat as evidence here, because not representative of anything, I'd guess it is more than"almost none", but still a smallish minority.

Likewise from my personal experience, I can't recall any meat-eaters ever giving me any grief about being veggie. But most likely YMMV may vary depending on where you live, your background, the circles you move in etc.

The truth of the matter is I've worried quite enough over the years about whether being veggie is a good idea without anyone having to say anything. Which is probably true of more vegetarians than would care to admit it.
posted by philipy at 7:24 AM on August 2, 2012


Am I the only person who actually *likes* Quorn? As in, if I was a meat-eater, I'd willingly eat Quorn instead of meat?
posted by salmacis at 8:03 AM on August 2, 2012


Am I the only person who actually *likes* Quorn? As in, if I was a meat-eater, I'd willingly eat Quorn instead of meat?

We can't keep Quorn in the house, everybody likes it so it never lasts. I keep telling my omnivore son to keep his mitts off my Quorn but it's SO GOOD he can't help himself. Especially the spicy patties, on a grilled bun with mustard and sliced fresh tomatoes from my own backyard, yummo I know what's for dinner tonight!
posted by headnsouth at 8:30 AM on August 2, 2012


Quorn crumbles are definitely as good or better than ground turkey for me. I still prefer ground beef over either. The hamburger patties remind me of crummy snack bar burgers, which is impressive but not quite the same as a real hamburger.
posted by smackfu at 8:32 AM on August 2, 2012


I can't eat meat unless it's been properly traumatised before death, I'm afraid.
posted by Decani at 9:26 AM on August 2, 2012


I really like the Quorn fakeo ground beef stuff in stir-fry sorts of things. I AM a meat eater and I still eat it voluntarily and reasonably often. The chickeny stuff is less good.
posted by elizardbits at 12:49 PM on August 2, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: “What really prompted this was koeselitz's claim that ‘vegetarians NEVER act like that’ because, uh, some indeed do.”

You're right – and I hedged with "almost," but that's a bad hedge. I also want to say that I don't think it's fair to paint mrgrimm with that brush, since I don't think he was being that 'judgey' anyway.

What I will agree with is that there are vegetarians and meat-eaters – in the same proportion – who are judgmental and pushy about their eating choices. What I mean to convey here, however, is that, if you do the math, then it means that there are many, many judgmental, pushy meat-eaters in the world, and vanishingly few judgmental, pushy meat-eaters in the world, simply because there just aren't that many vegetarians.

This is worth pointing out because of phunniemee's comment, which is still the most outrageous in this thread to my eye:

phunniemee: “I've never heard any meat-eater (except for myself, because I'm a terrible, hateful person who talks about how delicious piggies are to anyone who will listen to me and how they are wrong for not eating the delicious piggies) proselytise unprovoked to the table about the ethics and health values of eating a meat-rich diet. But I have heard that spiel from literally dozens of vegetarians and vegans.”

Now, I appreciate that that parenthetical must have been at least a little tongue-in-cheek. But the simple fact is – I can't remember ever having a vegetarian lecture me on food choices, whereas I hear the obnoxious bullshit in the parentheses up there almost every day on bumper stickers, on t-shirts, and elsewhere. It's all around us. And to simply act as though she's the only meat-eater in the whole world to pull this obnoxious "piggies are delicious, you are wrong for not eating them" stuff – well.

I'll say, though, that I appreciate that lots of meat-eaters probably feel that way. I think it's easy, when you're in a majority group, not to realize that a smaller minority has to deal with needling from a much vaster proportion of people, just because of the proportions. If you're a vegetarian, you've probably got a lot more meat-eating friends than vegetarian friends – and every single one probably thinks that their "animals are tasty, haw haw" schtick is wholly unique and 100% original. After a while, though, it wears on a person. Even though I know each single instance is probably good-humored, it really wears on a person to have it happen over and over and over again.

And nothing will change as long as meat-eaters remain aloof and never confront the fact that, yes, a lot of them sometimes behave in little ways that are really annoying to vegetarians. Vegetarians have been forced for years to confront this image of them as harping shrews ceaselessly whining about the plight of animals. On the other side, meat-eaters in general seem completely oblivious to the fact that they're part of a whole system of repressive mockery; every "eat the delicious piggies" joke may seem fine on its own, but all of them taken together constitute simple fiat enforcement of the status quo.

(And I say all of this as someone who actually eats meat. I have some vegetarian friends – a lot, actually – and none of them have ever pushed their choices on me or mocked me, even playfully, for what I put in my mouth. But I see what they go through, and I was a vegan for a while once, so this is something that often bugs me a bit.)
posted by koeselitz at 1:26 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Decani: “I can't eat meat unless it's been properly traumatised before death...”

Me neither.

“... I'm afraid.”

Oh good! You're almost ready, then!
posted by koeselitz at 1:27 PM on August 2, 2012


I can't eat meat unless it's been properly traumatised before death, I'm afraid.

Prime example of the asshole omnivore that some people have mentioned.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:35 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just feel it's a mistake to say "oh vegetarians NEVER do that" when every omnivore in here has encountered at least ONE vegetarian who's done that.

I'm just curious where y'all live that these pushy vegetarians are taking over, cuz I would love to move there. Vegetarian restaurants for miles!

What % of your friends are vegetarian? Can you name more than 5? Most of my friends are veg-friendly, but I can only think of one beside myself and my wife (and I honestly don't count my wife either - she eats bacon at lunch - I know it.)

Vegetarians have been forced for years to confront this image of them as harping shrews ceaselessly whining about the plight of animals.

Also pale and virginal.

I watch the show True Blood (guilty pleasure or quality dramedy? I haven't decided yet ...), and I've always been annoyed by Alan Ball's initial conceit of having vampires = gays in terms of coming out and mainstreaming, etc. It just doesn't fit for me.

As I was watching the most recent episode, I had a much better analogy: The sanguinistas/lillithers are the carnivores and the mainstreamers (former Authority/True Blood drinkers) are the vegetarians. The humans are the livestock.

* spoilers
posted by mrgrimm at 8:34 AM on August 3, 2012


Ha! An interesting footnote to the 'why eat fake meat instead of traditional vegan foods from around the world?' conversation: last night I went to a Thai restaurant with a woman I know who is Thai; she grew up and lived most of her adult life there. She told me something interesting: apparently, in Thailand, fake meat is a traditional vegan food. Since there are a number of festivals and holidays during the year when people in Thailand traditionally go vegan, fake meat to replace actual meat in common dishes is an everyday thing, and has been around for at least a hundred years that she knows of. And it seems like it's pretty good: fake chicken, fake beef, and fake shrimp. So apparently, fake meat is traditional vegan food in some places.
posted by koeselitz at 8:50 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am a former vegetarian, but I gotta say, I love fake meat. I really appreciate a good salami. And I eat burgers. But man, I am CRAZY about Vegan Pot-Stewed Mutton. Mock duck, quorn, gluten-based chicken. I love it all! I find it really odd how so many non-vegetarians find fake meat so... threatening. What's the big deal? No one is forcing anybody to eat anything here.
posted by molecicco at 10:11 AM on August 3, 2012


I find it really odd how so many non-vegetarians find fake meat so... threatening.

The threat is obvious. If you can create a synthetic (yet natural) fake meat that mimics existing "real" meat, why should we be killing animals?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:43 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What % of your friends are vegetarian? Can you name more than 5?

Dude, I have lived with more than five vegetarians. I don't know where you live (*checks profile*) but over here in cities, we've got all sorts of people. Assuming that the folks who say that (some, guys, some) vegetarians do these things must only know like one or two vegetarian folks is kind of presumptuous. I have vegetarians running out my ears over here, and most of them are perfectly fine, lovely, unassuming people who mind their own business and let me mind mine. But some of them (some) are downright militant. And I've probably known more militant veggies than you have people living on your block.

I'm just sayin'.
posted by phunniemee at 1:58 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know where you live (*checks profile*) but over here in cities

LOL. I live in Berkeley, CA. I lie in my profile, I think. Previously, I lived in San Francisco for 15 years. My only vegetarian friends are a few straight edgers from Kentucky. The only good vegetarian friend who wasn't from Kentucky killed himself. :(

I've met a few vegetarians out here, but really none of my friends apart from my wife (who converted after marriage). Maybe I'm just attracted to meat eaters but it really seems like the OVERWHELMING majority of people out here are carnies.

I've got about ... 34-40 houses on my block with two semi-large apartments ... maybe 120-150 people? I agree - that's a lot of militant vegetarians. That's definitely more than the total vegetarians I've met in my entire life. In America, it's like 0.5% vegan or 3% vegetarian. What's that Dunbar number or whatever--250? That's 1.25 vegans and 7.5 vegetarians.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:15 PM on August 3, 2012


I'm a vegetarian who likes fake meat (because I don't eat meat because dead creature in my mouth freaks me out, but I still like some vegan junk food). After reading this thread, I went to a Whole Foods near me and can report that this is definitely a cut above regular fake meat. I'd write more, but I'm eating the sandwich right now and it's really good!
posted by c'mon sea legs at 7:29 PM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a vegetarian who mostly avoids fake meat because it is super processed and not very tasty.

I never liked the taste of chicken, but really want to try this. I wonder when it will be available in the NYC area?
posted by inertia at 7:15 AM on August 6, 2012


it really seems like the OVERWHELMING majority of people out here are carnies.

Well at least the tilt-a-whirls are safe.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:46 AM on August 6, 2012


« Older What do today's kids make of the Commodore 64?   |   (((((O))))) Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post