If I couldn’t have meat, I needed something damn close.
January 1, 2015 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Health aside, some of my friends were just weirded out. Why turn plant proteins into burgers and dogs? Why not just eat them as peas and soybeans and seeds? To which I say: taco, chimichanga, empanada, crepe, pierogi, wonton, gyoza, stuffed roti, pupusa, pastie, pig in a blanket, croque monsieur, pastrami on rye. Culture is a lump of flesh wrapped in dough. If you want to save the world, you’d better make it convenient.
The Beyond Meat people, already known for their plant-based chicken (previously), are taking on plant-based beef. Is it really The Top-Secret Food That Will Change the Way You Eat? Probably not, but it's still interesting.
posted by Shmuel510 (107 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just clone the animal cells and grow them in a vat already.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:51 PM on January 1, 2015 [26 favorites]


Interesting article, if a bit hypercharged with manspeak to get past the resistance of the part of its readership that likes to claim food tastes best a half an hour after you shoot it with a bow you made yourself.

At the risk of making the better be the enemy of the good, I'd be concerned about how they're producing the vegetable protein. Industrial food science has proven over and over again that just because you start with plant matter doesn't mean you end up with something healthy. I'd sooner eat a handful of lard with hair sticking out of it than hydrogenated cottonseed oil.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:06 PM on January 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


FoB:I asked a few vegan friends about the idea of nanotechnological meat. They mostly said that they'd have no moral objections but that they'd lost their taste for it. Many also said that giving up dairy was much harder than giving up meat. FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 2:06 PM on January 1, 2015


Faint of Butt: “Just clone the animal cells and grow them in a vat already.”

I've wondered: is this at all a possibility? Something tells me it's not – I don't think it'd ever be possible to "grow" muscle, fat and tendon cells on their own in a tank, I imagine cloning as we know it now means just implanting an artificially fertilized egg into a normal human or other animal to be born naturally – but of course it is kind of the vegetarian dream: to divorce the meat we eat entirely from the animals that have to suffer for it.

Maybe somebody who knows more about biology can chime in on this.
posted by koeselitz at 2:07 PM on January 1, 2015


Just clone the animal cells and grow them in a vat already.

This turns out to be way harder than it sounds like it should be. It's really expensive to grow animal tissue culture in large amounts, and even more importantly, maintaining sterility is really hard - microbes love animal cells and culture medium, but tissue culture doesn't have skin, an immune system, etc., and compared to microbes, the individual cells from a multicellular animal don't grow and divide nearly as aggressively and aren't adapted to compete in a non-sterile environment. (And even after all that, the best case scenario that you get with current methods is this super flabby muscle goop, so you have to do stuff like give it electrical shocks so that the muscle will get "toned." No but seriously.)
posted by en forme de poire at 2:11 PM on January 1, 2015 [45 favorites]


In vitro meat challenges (Wikipedia).

Maybe it can be added for flavor, but not for texture.
posted by Brian B. at 2:12 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


koeselitz, they're growing muscle fibres in a laboratory setting, and have created the world's most expensive burger with a lot of postprocessing, adding fats and so forth. I agree with you that it's probably not worth it; producing a comparable product from conventionally grown foods seems a lot easier.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:13 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's great to give people more non-meat options to eat, but I find their rhetoric stupid.

It's not a veggie burger! It's real meat! The machine is just like a cow!

Maybe that is necessary, and indeed, if they just said "we're making a veggie burger that's healthier and tastes better" I probably wouldn't seeing articles about it all over the internet. But it is a veggie burger, it's not real meat, and that analogy breaks down in a pretty unappealing way; when you put plants in one end of a cow, you don't get hamburgers coming out the other end.
posted by aubilenon at 2:18 PM on January 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


I've wondered: is this at all a possibility?

It's already a thing. Although, it probably won't be a big thing unless we can do it on a large scale and solve problems like expense and contamination.
posted by Avelwood at 2:18 PM on January 1, 2015


when you put plants in one end of a cow, you don't get hamburgers coming out the other end.

No, but on the plus side the patties are enormous.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:20 PM on January 1, 2015 [32 favorites]


I had the Beyond Meat chicken in an appetizer at a restaurant yesterday. It was delicious and did taste like the corresponding grilled chicken pieces would have (according to memory). I don't seek out dishes that mimic meat, but, as the leading quote claims, there is a lot of embedded culture in cuisine. Having vegetarian options at a restaurant that aren't merely a variation on a veggie burger with fries is fantastic.
posted by zachxman at 2:21 PM on January 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


geez that was hyperbolic. You get three quarters of the way through before they admit it doesn't taste or feel like a burger at all.

when you put plants in one end of a cow, you don't get hamburgers coming out the other end.

Yeah, you don't want to get their machine mixed up with this one.
posted by robcorr at 2:30 PM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've sometimes wondered if we'd do better to try to find ways to make meat substitutes out of invertebrates - many people around the world dine on them quite successfully. Making those things more palatable to people in our culture (by, for example, processing them into tasty beef-like discs) would seem like a pretty good option in a lot of ways.
posted by pipeski at 2:30 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


In the same vein as the FPP, I recently saw a public talk by Pat Brown, an ex-Stanford prof whose lab developed the first microarrays back in the day... he now has a startup called Impossible Foods trying make convincing plant-based and ecologically-friendly replacements for sort of "classic Americana" foods like the cheeseburger. I came away really impressed with their approaches, though of course I haven't tried any of the "beta" products yet. Basically the two things Impossible Foods seemed to be doing really differently were 1. using simple acid-base chromatography to get specific protein fractions from plants, as opposed to just getting undifferentiated "plant protein" (which is really made up of lots of different proteins, all of which have different chemical properties and will therefore react differently to cooking), and 2. adding a plant-based source of heme, which when cooked together with protein apparently gives you access to a lot of different redox chemistry in the pan and gives you a much richer variety of "meaty" tastes as opposed to that bland brothy taste. A lot was made of this second bit in the popular press, some of it pretty over the top ("plant blood!!!1 eleventy") but it's really just leghemoglobin which is an already-existing plant homolog of hemoglobin (like hemoglobin, it's an oxygen carrier).

I think there's a real niche for these products already - there are a lot of people who have sympathies to vegetarianism but really just like the taste and texture of meat (and/or the nutritional profile), or have other cultural attachments to meat. And particularly if decent substitutes can eventually become cheaper than say, ground hamburger (which is ambitious but I think is possible), there's the potential to really have a large environmental impact as well.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:38 PM on January 1, 2015 [20 favorites]


I've sometimes wondered if we'd do better to try to find ways to make meat substitutes out of invertebrates - many people around the world dine on them quite successfully.

The food cubes indeed looked great in Snowpiercer.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:45 PM on January 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't think it'd ever be possible to "grow" muscle, fat and tendon cells on their own in a tank

This part on the other hand is actually totally possible today - you can grow heart cells in a dish that beat on their own, for instance.You can even take skin cells from a person and transdifferentiate them into other types of tissue. My sense is that the bigger challenge right now is getting all of the different cell lineages organized and interacting in the right way (plus the challenges I talked about w.r.t. sterility).

Speaking of sterility it's also worth noting that the "real" meat industry also has a ton of problems with microbial contamination, and one of the potentially really valuable things about a veg-based substitute is that you wouldn't have to use prophylactic antibiotics to maximize yield in the same way. Since that's contributing to antibiotic resistance, that's another potential gain from trying to replace parts of the meat industry with veg-based alternatives.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:45 PM on January 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm no expert, but several of the items on his list don't necessarily require meat. Crepes, pierogi, pupusa, for example? They can have meat in, but the idea you can't have a crepe without meat doesn't suggest a man who knows or cares much about food.
posted by Segundus at 2:57 PM on January 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


Not meat-like substances, Brown will tell you. Meat. Meat from plants. Because what is meat but a tasty, toothy hunk of protein?

sry that's not how words work
posted by threeants at 3:02 PM on January 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


threeants: compare "milk" though: soy, almond, coconut, ...
posted by en forme de poire at 3:04 PM on January 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


In flavor and texture, the current Beast reminds me of the Salisbury steak of my youth—not exactly something to celebrate, but not terrible, either.

Congratulations, you created...a veggie burger that is not as good as already-existing veggie burgers!
posted by threeants at 3:08 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't tried Beyond Meat stuff yet, but hearing they're working on fake beef is good to hear. Alton Brown of Good Eats' fame wrote something for Wired a year or two ago about the fake chicken when it came out and he said it was super convincing.

I want to try it out but don't want to necessarily buy a bag of it, is it still something they sell in Whole Foods salads?
posted by mathowie at 3:08 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


> I've sometimes wondered if we'd do better to try to find ways to make meat substitutes out of invertebrates

I'm not sure they could be considered "meat substitutes" if they are still made out of animals, but it looks like you can buy such things now.
posted by Poldo at 3:11 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm all for this. The reasons not to eat meat are huge - the only positive part of it is the gustatory experience.

> You get three quarters of the way through before they admit it doesn't taste or feel like a burger at all.

"At all"? I don't see that from that article. The fact that it's not entirely convincing yet is hardly the same as "not tasting and feeling at all like a burger". There are already veggie burgers on the market that are fairly convincing, as in, "If I had one after a couple of beers with friends I'd never notice" - we had one just the other night (brand-name Gardein) - you'd have to believe these are better.

> Sorry, fake meat, not interesting.

Meat production is one of the largest contributors to climate, it's by far the fastest growing contributor, and it's also one of the few almost entirely a matter of choice. So if you care about climate change, you should passionately care about "fake meat".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:12 PM on January 1, 2015 [19 favorites]


Just what the world needs: more highly mechanized and highly processed food products.

Meat/dough works because it was originally a convenient way to cook with preserved meat, which only requires basic kitchen tech.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:12 PM on January 1, 2015


There are plenty of good reasons not to eat meat (environmental, ethical, etc) and moving to plant-based foods is better in those regards. If people want an equivalent version of plant proteins that can fool top chefs into thinking it's real meat, that's fine and great to have as an option. No one is forcing anyone else to eat these things, they're just new options.

I was vegetarian for about 15 years when I was younger and I never ate much fake meat but appreciated there were options for people that missed that and wanted it.
posted by mathowie at 3:14 PM on January 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


The extruder in the Beyond Meat lab does it to make meat. Not meat-like substances, Brown will tell you. Meat. Meat from plants. Because what is meat but a tasty, toothy hunk of protein?

It's food made from animals. That's what meat is. I like Beyond Meat stuff (and fake-meats in general) but it comes of as a little try-too-hard when they're all "It's meat! Nonono, it really IS meat, it doesn't just imitate it! It imitates meat it so well that now it's meat!"
posted by 23skidoo at 3:38 PM on January 1, 2015


compare "milk" though: soy, almond, coconut, ...

Or closer to home, "burger" — turkey, veggie, etc. There are pretty reasonable linguistic precedents for this kind of thing. I mean, I also find the strenuously macho It's Real Meat marketing angle a little off-putting, but then as someone who already likes fake meat of many kinds, it's probably just not meant for me.

Anyhow this approach seems clearly better, just as marketing, than whatever idiocy was behind something like "Quorn." Every holiday for several years now I've ended up suggesting the Quorn Roast log to some relative or friend, and every single damn time, a really really dumb conversation has ensued: 1. "no, with a Q," 2. "no, it's made of mycoproteins," 3. "no, it's really much better than Tofurkey, that one just sounds more like 'turkey'"
posted by RogerB at 3:46 PM on January 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Since my wife became vegan last year, I've been more aware of these issues, and in particular, I've been particularly saddened by the gratuitous hostility and rudeness that people get asking about vegan and vegetarian options on the internet, no matter how polite they are.

As I told her, there are a lot of psychopaths out there, but there are even more people who are aware of the fact that eating meat is a huge contributor to climate change, to deforestation, and is founded on institutional cruelty toward other living creatures. If they allowed themselves to actually think through the consequences of their actions, they'd be appalled and perhaps have to change their behavior - so they hide their fears under a blanket of aggression and profanity.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:51 PM on January 1, 2015 [29 favorites]


While I'm no fan of the current corporate practitioners of GM, that's more to do with their business model, government influence and general large-scale assholery than any general concern about GM. If you could grow hams in your garden like squash and pepperoni like cucumbers I wouldn't have any problem with it at all.

The trouble is it's never going to happen because agribusiness would HATE for you to be able to do that; that's not how they make money at all. And they're the only ones with the resources to invent something like that now that government has been largely forced out of the business of benefiting society.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:04 PM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm holding out for chicken based broccoli.
posted by vapidave at 4:05 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I frequent a Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant, with a full menu both vegetarian and meat meals. They use a bunch of different meat substitutes, veg chicken, veg beef, and tofu. The tofu lettuce wraps are exquisite, far better than the real chicken lettuce wraps. Francis Moore Lappé wrote Diet for A Small Planet almost forty years ago. I took her work to heart and started a vegetarian restaurant in the early seventies. It is easy to make tasty food. Many Asian people are Buddhist and practice vegetarianism, it is not rocket science. The idea of making a big engineering project out of making fake meat so we can still have burgers and beer, just makes me remember how industry and mechanizations are energy inefficient at startup anyway. The whole I'm rich and I have millions to invest in the pretend philanthropy that is part of my narcissism, grates a little, epecially when it wrapped in some kind of aha, like the product doesn't exist already. See Lappe's visit to a city in Brazil where food is a human right a city of two to three million people.
posted by Oyéah at 4:08 PM on January 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/food-for-everyone/the-city-that-ended-hunger

Here is that article about food as a human right.
posted by Oyéah at 4:12 PM on January 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


You know, if we spent more money on growing human tissue in vitro we would not only have an endless supply of replacement organs for transplant, we'd also beat the fake-meat problem.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:33 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Since my wife became vegan last year, I've been more aware of these issues, and in particular, I've been particularly saddened by the gratuitous hostility and rudeness that people get asking about vegan and vegetarian options on the internet, no matter how polite they are.

Oh, this, this, and this. And it isn't just on the Internet either. While it's generally agreed on in my family that I have always been a weirdo and me being vegan is nothing new in that particular category, I encountered a sort of unprecedented level of hostility or patronizing attitudes at my most recent visit home. I mean, how I eat is nothing new to them, but for some reason, it really bugged my (bio) dad, my stepmom, and my sister, the latter of which led to a weird shouting at me about how I knew nothing about anything and I was full of shit not wanting to harm an animal for my meal. (In full disclosure, she had had about two bottles of wine and asked what the word "vegan" meant to me. My answer--which was not aggressive and geared towards my personal feelings and philosophy and no one else's--triggered a meltdown that still makes me feel sad.) I cook my own meals when home, my family is happy to scarf down any leftovers should I leave them, but yeah, people do become horrible and aggressive to people who don't eat meat. Not to mention if you're my husband and you don't, then it becomes a fucked up questioning of your manhood.

I like the idea of Beyond Meat. I would like to try it. And if it can do some good for anyone in terms of animal welfare, environmentalism, etc, then yes, I think it's worthwhile.
posted by Kitteh at 4:34 PM on January 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


It's food made from animals. That's what meat is.

Which means that nutmeat is not meat.

And actually, I agree with that. Nutmeat is a kind of meat that is not meat. So I guess this stuff could be a kind of meat that's not meat, either.

It doesn't seem to me like the semantic aspect is the determinant here.
posted by layceepee at 4:56 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


whatever idiocy was behind something like "Quorn."

It's the name of the village where the strain of fungus they use to make it came from. In a country that's too far north to grow corn, except for sweetcorn.
posted by ambrosen at 5:01 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've been particularly saddened by the gratuitous hostility and rudeness that people get asking about vegan and vegetarian options on the internet, no matter how polite they are.

Almost everything I've seen on the internet that has provoked the very worst ire is someone either trying to help solve a societal problem, or bring attention to one. Some people seem constitutionally incapable of seeing this as anything other than, at best, judgemental self-righteousness, and at worst, a freedom-destroying censorious infringement of their inalienable human right to dickishness.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:02 PM on January 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


While there is culture that does enjoy a burger, there are also whole human populations that are vegetarian or vegan. (Heck, if I remember correctly, Jain cooking eschews root vegetables because their harvest is harmful to soil organisms.)

While I grew up on science fiction short stories where the crew of the V-2-like rocket hacks off a chunk of beef-in-a-petri-dish, it's probably easier for more of us to adopt the pre-existing cultures that have been doing it for ages.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:04 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Would it be possible to have a process that takes sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and a few trace elements at one end and pops out the delicious cut of meat of your choice at the other? Well, yes: that's what we have now, after all, and we've been mechanising bits of it steadily for a few thousand years. Would it be a good idea to have an entirely mechanical system that did that, with no complex living organisms involved? Lots of reasons why it would, and some reasons to think it's achievable. There are certainly better - as in faster, more efficient, more immediately achievable - ways to circumvent the need for such a thing, but I honestly don't know if they're achievable, given human naturee.

We will need wholesle food reform sooner or later, though, so experimenting with as many options as we can seems highly sensible. We ignore the potential for food supply failure to upend our world, but it's there and it's not going away.
posted by Devonian at 5:08 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that backlash against non-meat-eaters has entirely to do with knee-jerk responses to judgment/moral sanctimoniousness (even when it's totally imagined) than anything else. I know plenty of vegans and vegetarians, and by and large the ones that don't eat meat for moral reasons seem to get way more flak from carnivores than those that don't eat meat for health reasons. I think that when people hear you're a vegetarian or vegan for moral reasons, they assume an implicit "and I think that makes me better than people who eat meat", even if no such thing was said or implied, which then prompts angry violent responses. Which is shitty, and totally on the meat-eaters being jerks.
posted by Itaxpica at 5:22 PM on January 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


If there were vegetable substitutes for meats and poultry that tasted good, and even more important, were cheaper than meats I would buy them 95% of the time over meats. I think most families and folks on a budget, as well as those concerned with health would do so.

Do I trust Big Ag to produce such substitutes in a healthy manner.

Hell no.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:25 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that backlash against non-meat-eaters has entirely to do with knee-jerk responses to judgment/moral sanctimoniousness (even when it's totally imagined) than anything else.

This. Look, every time a vegetarian utters the words 'meat is murder', the unsaid thing right after that is 'and you are a murderer.'

I look forward trying beyond meat's products (come on, get them in the rest of Ontario!), just so I'll have more recipes I can try. There are a lot of sub-par fake meat products on the market (which our supermarket has in stock, and I haven't bought more than once). But I have tried good fake meat (chinese restaurants often make reasonable make meat - glutton based).

But 'vat-meat'? Yikes, I think I'd rather have real meat than meat that's actual meat but engineered in a vat... Something very disquieting about that. I very much look forward to Beyond Meat's chicken though.
posted by el io at 5:45 PM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


But does eating it take away your vegan superpowers or not?
posted by warriorqueen at 6:04 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I've had soy-based veggie burgers that I thought were pretty good. Maybe not exactly the same as real meat, but reasonable enough. I'm no burger connoisseur, though.
posted by ovvl at 6:17 PM on January 1, 2015


I like Quorn. I like Gardein's fake chicken. More tasty things = fine by me.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:34 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


This. Look, every time a vegetarian utters the words 'meat is murder', the unsaid thing right after that is 'and you are a murderer.'

Has a vegetarian ever said 'meat is murder' to you? With a straight face?

Not that you (or anyone else) should expect to glide through life without being scrutinized and judged. Meat production is a huge cause of environmental trouble. When people choose to eat meat because they don't enjoy the texture of meat replacements as much as they enjoy their bacon, it could come across something like people choosing to drive big polluting trucks because they don't like the feel of more environmentally responsible modes of transport. Eating meat may not be murder, but it isn't exactly an ethically neutral action.
posted by pracowity at 6:35 PM on January 1, 2015 [16 favorites]


avoiding all the low-hanging derp, and hopefully slightly-avoiding an aneurysm... I will instead focus upon a distinction:

1.
why in the EVERLOVINGHELL is it still so difficult to easily order/find Quorn in NA/US? I know there was some kerfuffle over the tariff mushroom/mycoprotein labelling BS, but that was forever-years-ago. this stuff is literally on the same level of crack-satisfying as any poorly-formulated breaded semi-chicken-melange-sodium-gone-wrong-thing, i.e. it is made perfectly correctly. so sell it to me already.

2.
dr praeger products seem to be omnipresent. not only are they ridiculously overpriced, but they are absolute **** flavor/texture/zero-seasoned. for actual-vegetarians, meat-dreaming-vegetarians, and non-vegetarians, it's just complete junk. it's not even as if they aspired to make e.g. a vada or tikki or croquette and ended up badly, it's just like... they started out badly. as if they were designed by some sort of Fletcher School of Unpleasantness, for the main purpose to punish primates.

(the reason I mention this particular brand, this is where it gets hilarious - somehow praeger patties have been chosen for tests/trials and now sale in White Castle stores. this literally has to be some sort of false-flag operation to demote/prevent vegetarian options, because, ew, why.)
posted by dorian at 6:42 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Most "vat-grown" animal cells like to live off culture media with added, (dun dun duhhhn!) fetal bovine serum - aka baby cow's blood. So I don't think vegans would be super keen on it. The reason they often need this serum is because it contains many factors that we don't even know about yet. Yeah, we're a way's off from vat-grown stuff. Science is rarely vegan friendly.
posted by bobobox at 6:43 PM on January 1, 2015


Oh god, I would never say "meat is murder" in all sincerity to anyone that doesn't follow my diet. But I think that is exactly what a lot of omnis hear when you tell them you don't eat animal products.
posted by Kitteh at 6:43 PM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Clearly y'all haven't met our friend who had a militant vegan midlife crisis. "Meat is murder" would be mild by her standards. She tends more towards the horrific photos on Facebook MOST days.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:02 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh god, I would never say "meat is murder" in all sincerity to anyone that doesn't follow my diet.

Honest question: why not? Is it because you don't believe meat is murder in all sincerity? I mean, murder is pretty serious.
posted by kenko at 7:06 PM on January 1, 2015


eh ok let's bring on the derp. I would never outright say 'meat is murder' to anyone but that is probably more about me being conflict-avoidant and the supremely annoying questions you get in that typical conversation.

what I would say: to anyone who directly hunts/kills and butchers their own food: respect.

to anyone who brings home styrofoam trays from the store, to any omnivore who whines "ew meat from a test tube gross I would never eat that!", "ew taco bell meat is mixed with soy?!", yeah, wow, great jorb, you.

as a vegetarian, I would totally eat meat if I killed/butchered it myself, and would almost certainly eat it out of vitro production. ok, I'm not quite sure how all of that reconciles.
posted by dorian at 7:11 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't get the "squicked out by cultured meat but slaughterhouse meat yum yum" thing AT ALL. Yeah, it's really disgusting that it's never been covered in its own shit and nothing had to die for it. Eww!
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:21 PM on January 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


Soy Chorizo!
posted by Oyéah at 7:38 PM on January 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Do I believe meat is murder? Yeah, I suppose that I do. Do I believe I can have productive conversation with someone else by lobbing that at them? Not bloody likely.
posted by Kitteh at 7:39 PM on January 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


to anyone who brings home styrofoam trays from the store, to any omnivore who whines "ew meat from a test tube gross I would never eat that!", "ew taco bell meat is mixed with soy?!", yeah, wow, great jorb, you.

...hunting a cow isn't exactly practical, that's why we have specialization of labor and modern methods of distribution. I might not need all of a cow on any given day, but given that I live in a city, there are more than a few people around me who can use the rest.

To a meat-eater, artificial meat is probably never going to taste like meat, because it isn't just protein that we're eating, but protein and fat that's been moving around, occasionally being a fed a diet of very particular things. It's the reason that farmed salmon has all the taste of cardboard, while wild salmon is actually tasty. Electro-shock therapy might get you a slightly tougher (non-flabby) chunk of meat, but it's not going to fake fat or sinew. It's pretty tricky to fake the fat - the best part of a roast chicken meal is the veg that has gone and soaked up the fat - the same with a roast duck, or leg of lamb - or think of the intricacy in faking a pork or lamb shank (marrow, there's another delicious flavoring) - that would be crazy; it's cheaper and easier to raise a pig or a sheep.

To me, vegetarian food is best when it doesn't try to emulate meat. Play to the strengths of the ingredients you have. I understand for those people who've given up meat, that there's a desire to have something that approximates it - knock yourself out and make it/eat it. But realize that for those of us who do eat meat, it's just not going to be the same.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 7:40 PM on January 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


hilarity, I know right? I haven't eaten meat for 20 years or more, but spent previously 20 years directly exposed/involved to family business of slaughtering and processing cows, chickens and pigs.

but steak grown in a bucket? not cool, man, not cool.

and even aside from that - how funny is it that no one wants to know how the sausage is made. ...except apparently when it is made with plant protein other than offal. (look, it is sausage it is delicious in most any case...)

zero, ZERO, of the NA/US fake-bacons are palatable/acceptable in any sense. but if you go somewhere like maywahnyc where they are selling fake-meats in the kind that E/SE Asia have been making for 1000 years or more, there is some amazingly tasty stuff going on. the soy/mushroom 'bacon' is incomprehensibly "fatty" and crisps up beautifully. or 5-spice mock duck with additional fake skin? best banh-mi evar.

recent research of big corporations (actual-purpose wanting to save money, obvs), showing that some certain percentage ratio of actual meat and soy/veg protein, is preferred by consumers, than 100% meat, in e.g. taco products etc.

fake-riblets. this is almost indistinguishable from McRib, aside from gristle. and mostly depends more on which BBQ sauce you prefer. plus you can have them year-round.

morningstar maple sausage patties. these are hard to disagree with from any perspective.

frozen corndogs and mini corndogs. the dogs are subpar, but as long as you broil or fry them, oh man! again, it's junk food, how is making it from offal or soy really any different in the end? the "flavor" is all spices, salt, nitrates, nitrites...
posted by dorian at 7:43 PM on January 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, one potential issue with East Asian/SEA fake meat is that a lot of it is made from gluten/seitan, which might cause allergic reactions to a number of people.

Also, if someone wants to alter diets due to environmental/climate change concerns, eating virtually anything is better than eating beef. You don't have to go total vegetarian. Just by switching to chicken or even pork alone would end up using less water/land/food to get the same weight in meat.
posted by FJT at 8:05 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've lost my interest in beef, after not eating it for a decade or so, though I still love some good chicken, pork or lamb (mmm, lamb). But the one thing I miss of beef is the scent of cooking beef. I am still pretty certain that I would be happy with a well-made tofu-type patty that had the flavor equivalent of that scent, especially of Santa Maria tri-tip, a rather cheap, fatty cut of meat.

And I must agree - pork and turkey patties are good replicas for the form of burgers and other ground beef, whereas vegetable patties tend to crumble exactly like a good burger does not.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do have this really weird-serious regret of never having eaten enough lamb, it is (er, was) beyond-delicious (from memory) but in the US always marginalized + super-overpriced, for no good reason.

veggie patties... still no true satisfaction with any brand. so much better off with wada/tikki/cutlet, if you can find a local source. or making it yourself except my ass is always entirely too lazy of late.

and sadly yes gluten vs fake meat, some close friends tried but can't deal :(
posted by dorian at 8:23 PM on January 1, 2015


Yeah, I don't get the "squicked out by cultured meat but slaughterhouse meat yum yum" thing AT ALL. Yeah, it's really disgusting that it's never been covered in its own shit and nothing had to die for it. Eww!

If you were referring to me, I'm a vegetarian. So cultured meat does squick me out, and I'd rather eat real meat, but I don't do either (good fake meat, yay, crappy fake meat-forget it, but I don't want vat-meat... that just rubs me wrong).

I look forward to sampling Beyond Meat's chicken; it sounds as if they have some work to do before the beef is ready, but I'm happy to try that, but I'll be sticking to plant/fungi based fake meats (when they are tasty). And Morningstar does make some good sausage (unfortunately not to be found in my local supermarkets).
posted by el io at 8:52 PM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


A meat story, once a young Dietitian I worked with was eating a moose sandwich, from a moose killed by her father way up in Canada, on a hunt. She asked if I wanted a taste and yes I did. That moose tasted as if he were made entirely of service berries. I have eaten those in Northern Ontario. It was amazing so clearly from a wild diet. Meat was most surely made from berries, at the same time that Moose didn't really deserve that mortal disruption.
posted by Oyéah at 9:28 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Many also said that giving up dairy was much harder than giving up meat. FWIW.

Definitely, it's cheese specifically. I'm perfectly happy with a Boca Original Vegan Burger, I don't need any fancy new tech burgers. It's mostly about the condiments anyway. But cheese needs to taste like cheese and all the fake ones currently taste more like gym socks.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:07 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty happy with eating less meat from better sources and better cheese in general.
posted by angerbot at 10:15 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


But cheese needs to taste like cheese and all the fake ones currently taste more like gym socks.

I picked up some "aged English smoked farmhouse" from Miyoko's Kitchen the other day and it was uncanny. I remember eating smoked dairy cheeses with very similar flavor and texture. Now I want to check out the rest of their product line.

The Chao slices from Field Roast aren't as incredible, but I've definitely tasted presliced cheese that was less palatable. And it melts pretty well on a pizza.

The vegan replacements currently available aren't perfect but they're definitely getting better, for which I'm quite grateful.
posted by Lexica at 10:46 PM on January 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I picked up some "aged English smoked farmhouse" from Miyoko's Kitchen the other day and it was uncanny.

Smoking it would probably really help out there, yeah. The pictures on that site make it look delicious.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:06 AM on January 2, 2015


And even after all that, the best case scenario that you get with current methods is this super flabby muscle goop, so you have to do stuff like give it electrical shocks so that the muscle will get "toned." No but seriously.

This is something being addressed as well - in news sure to put the puritan-work-ethic crowd in a tizzy, Nestle has developed a drug that mimics exercise. I mean, what exercise does for you does not involve the actual motions and exertions, but the chemicals your body releases during them to signal changes to your metabolism and other body systems, down to the cellular level. Of course it will be replicable with medicine as our knowledge of these systems and how they interact increase.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:29 AM on January 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


This. Look, every time a vegetarian utters the words 'meat is murder', the unsaid thing right after that is 'and you are a murderer.'

Industrial-scale meat production is wasteful, cruel, and unsustainable. If you buy your meat from a supermarket, or most restaurant chains, and most butchers, then you either condone and support this, or you're a hypocrite.

Now, you can get your budgie smugglers in a knot and say you don't like how this makes you feel and you don't think it's a productive way to have a discussion, but that doesn't change the fact that it's 100 per cent fucking true.

I eat meat. I also know it's wrong. I'm not about to go shooting vegetarian and vegan messengers because they're correct and that doesn't make me look or feel great.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:40 AM on January 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Nestle has developed a drug that mimics exercise.

Oh my god that sounds amazing. I loathe exercise. I am a bona fide potato. Sign me up.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:01 AM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hey, Slap*Happy, any idea how I can get in on the human trials? :)
posted by starbreaker at 6:25 AM on January 2, 2015


Anyhow this approach seems clearly better, just as marketing

Needs more pink slime.
posted by flabdablet at 7:48 AM on January 2, 2015


It's guaranteed that any thread about anything vegan or vegetarian is going to contain comments extolling meat in squicky detail. I really wish we could just have a discussion about the cool new vegetarian thing! Without me sorta losing my appetite.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:43 AM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Taste like gym socks"

I want to know how you were steered to the gym socks diet? Was it a multi level marketng thing? Were they also selling juicers?
posted by Oyéah at 10:27 AM on January 2, 2015


cool (not-really-)new vegetarian thing...? here are a couple burger-like-objects, I could live on basically for forever. no cheese necessary (in fact would be wrong and confusing with cheese) ((and I really, really, rilly like cheese))

more burger-like-objects. I made that recipe from scratch once (including the chutneys! yes, even the tamarind (now that is one of the most time-consuming tedious tasks ever. but the delicious result is so worth it)). the only thing I didn't make myself was the sev. that meal was one of the most glorious things I have ever eaten.
posted by dorian at 10:30 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have to try vada pav, it sounds fantastic. I also love me some doubles from Trinidad.
posted by Poldo at 10:55 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've not had a soy chorizo that didn't taste like cardboard (though oddly it seemed like the flavor itself was off more than the texture - how hard can it be to get umami and chili powder into soy?).

Tal Ronnen's vegan cheeses are great (but if you have a nut allergy, sorry). I think they are being sold at Whole Foods in the LA area; if you are in town, definitely go to Crossroads -- it's amazing (though the lasagna is a little oversold -- it's not that hard to find a decent vegetarian lasagna).

As someone who has been a lifelong meat eater now trying more substitutes, I think the best way to approach Gardein is not to think of it as a one to one correspondence to an existing fowl, but as a new one you haven't tried, similar to the way you approach a new meat (when you first had boar, you knew it wasn't beef, so rather than be put off by the differences, you could actually focus on them).

And I don't think it's unfair in this particular thread to talk about the sensation of eating meat. The topic is meat substitutes, not vegan cuisine (which are pretty distinct topics in my mind).
posted by 99_ at 11:28 AM on January 2, 2015


"Potted Meat Product"
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:41 AM on January 2, 2015


I'm an omnivore, but have taken to severely limiting my meat and dairy intake primarily for health reasons. I'm not a huge fan of meat substitutes, but I appreciate the variety they offer for protein. I love tofu, seitan, nuts and beans, but I also love to cook a wide variety of different dishes. And while I made an excellent seitan picatta the other night, I'm not sure how it would hold up in a dish like this chicken tamale pie. It sounds like Beyond Meat would fit well into this recipe, where I don't think seitan would structurally hold up, and tofu would provide the right texture.

I have to admit, I've never tried Quorn despite it being available at my market. Because of the name I just assumed it was made primarily of corn products and thus carb-heavy. After a quick look, it has less carbs than seitan, which means I'll be picking up some while getting groceries tomorrow.
posted by slogger at 11:51 AM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had some Beyond Meat baked ziti from Bristol Farms yesterday without knowing a thing about Beyond Meat. I have no idea what it tastes like by itself, but the ziti was pretty good.
posted by malocchio at 12:17 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


ooh, doubles! mmm... I used to be able to buy cheap huges ones on the walk home from the subway. so spicy and greasy and chewy and sinfully delicious. and all the squirt bottles of hot & other sauces on the service counter! man, a single order could easily serve me as lunch and dinner (or dinner and breakfast) ((except it almost never did - already-stuffed, I could never stop going back for another bite until it was gone and I was starting to feel pretty sick, ha))

for those unlucky enough to have no West-Indian place around, a good alternative is Chhole Bhatura (quite possibly the source/inspiration for doubles, in fact?), that is, assuming there is an East-Indian place around. but it won't be quite the same, so manage expectations.

sad to say, the only East-Indian place around me charges literally 2x what chhole would cost anywhere else (and I think they charged extra for the baturas on top of that lol), and their food is so far below average, that I wouldn't get it even through dire craving. well, maybe. (being slightly unfair, sorry. I must admit: their sambar (sold as "soup", ha) is really really delicious, and their eggplant is out of this world. and their raw-onion/raw-garlic sticky chutney is mind-blowing.)

slogger - Quorn is not amazing, but it's "good enough". good texture, not dry or crumbly, decently-seasoned. e.g. the chicken nuggets and breaded patties are fairly indistinguishable from any other chicken-containing similar products in the freezer section. the same for their meatballs vs other frozen crappy-level-actual-meatballs. it's very, very different from every single other type of the NA/US frozen fake meats.
it's not going to match the visceral pleasure of McD's nuggets (look, I used to buy+inhale boxes of 20 entirely for myself, as a kid) but it works. those children who refuse to eat anything but frozen nuggets or pizza for every single meal? would not be capable tell the difference. probably not a lot of adults either, it would simply process/identify as "eh, processed frozen neutral breaded chicken-thing". but it's also no good for vegans or adventists (egg whites), and I think they only have a small subset of products gluten-free, for those for whom that's an issue.
posted by dorian at 12:23 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


speaking of adventist foods: if you become curious about the (e.g. Loma Linda or Worthington) canned hotdogs, chops, "fried" chicken, salisbury steaks, etc. - my advice, just get 1 can first, no matter how tempting a small case may be on price, and the shelf stable feature.
these are in an entirely separate class of their own. completely different experience from eating brands you see in the freezer section. they're not bad, they're just very, very... different.

it is the historical product of a parallely-evolved, highly-isolated tree of fake meat.

they're all very neutral (some come in gravies, the ingredients of which seem to be: "brown", "cornstarch", "salt") and are always moist, but always weak texture. if you cut up one of these hotdogs and placed it in front of a child, the child would eat it. if you cut up some hotdogs and put them in a crockpot of baked beans, an adult would eat it. (again, "just good enough" when you're dealing with foods towards the processed end of the spectrum)

I've also tried 7 million kinds of TVP (mainly to save money and also to have something shelf-stable) and it has never resulted in anything but gym socks (hmm, maybe that's what the juicer is for?)
((wait, not quite true: there is 1 pre-spiced breakfast sausage mix that was not bad. over-spiced sodium-bomb, i.e. just like regular breakfast sausage. reasonably tasty, esp with maple syrup))

and why won't spamazon sell me Quorn? I already buy all kinds of frozen stuff there already.
I hope it'll be different with the Beyond Meat stuff, I'd really love to try it.
posted by dorian at 12:50 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Quorn is basically fungus. I don't know how many of the proteins it contains are otherwise found in human diets, but after reading up on it I decided not to buy it again.

Morningstar Farms' stuff seems to be mostly the usual very, very chemically processed soy protein isolate. Kind of the same story there; I'd rather eat a little closer to the way it came out of the ground, and, y'know, pay a shitload less while I'm at it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:53 PM on January 2, 2015


yep, quorn is big sheets of protein grown in vats. nice analogue to in vitro animal fleisch, right? I admit I tend to cover my eyes/ears and tell myself "hey, Europe has been eating it for literally 30 years now, and some people did some clinical tests or something, and it's inexpensive, and god-damn it's tasty..." - I know, not the most responsible.

a couple more not-quite-burgerlike-objects, that I really wish we could see break into the fast food industry:
- the Frankie
- Kati roll
(they appear suspiciously similar, but no. it inolves egg wash, city rivalry, and some other inexplicable things. equally delicious, however.)
on first appearance maybe it looks like the bland, nondescript roasted-red-peppers-and-some-other-grilled-random-junk veggie wrap you get from subway or panera or something? not even close.

also, if anyone here is lucky enough to live near a Dosa cart, I will find that Dosa cart and then I will find you and then I will run over you with said Dosa cart.
posted by dorian at 1:17 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Enh, I know the "fungus" thing sounds gnarly but there are other molds that are a normal part of traditional cuisine (I've had that one I linked in a quesadilla and would wholeheartedly endorse it). Rates of Quorn allergy also appear to be a lot less than peanut, soy, etc., though it contains eggs which can also be an independent allergen.

At any rate I don't think the taxonomic distance indicates much; fungi (even molds) are closer to animals than they are to plants, and you can randomly get allergies to any number of proteins across the tree of life anyway.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:23 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still think GM is the answer. Imagine going out to your garden and cutting a big squash off the vine, taking it into the kitchen and cutting it open and find its interior consists entirely of wet, pulsing beef liver. Think of huge pea pods full of meatballs! Think of zucchini that peel to reveal perfectly seasoned dry salami, watermelons that slice into steaks, pâté fruit trees and hot dog sprouts; a savory cornucopia of perverted nature!
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:36 PM on January 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


(though oddly it seemed like the flavor itself was off more than the texture - how hard can it be to get umami and chili powder into soy?)

I seem to remember reading somewhere that a cardboard taste can be a result of pretty tiny amounts of oxidized lipids, so if that's the problem it doesn't matter what else you put in because what you really need is a higher-quality protein extraction, so you can get rid of every last bit of those compounds that are causing off-flavors.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:43 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is something being addressed as well - in news sure to put the puritan-work-ethic crowd in a tizzy, Nestle has developed a drug that mimics exercise.

It is super interesting! Though to be completely pedantic for a second, if it's what I'm thinking of, the compound they're working on might not be that helpful specifically in the case of vat meat. That drug is an AMP kinase agonist, and chronic AMPK activation seems to lead to muscle atrophy; what you really need for vat meat is the opposite. Electrical shock (and resistance exercise in actual people) activates AMPK too, but it's transient, so you get an acute phase where the muscles break down and remodel followed by a delayed upregulation of protein synthesis. You could maybe get a similar effect by giving an AMPK agonist periodically, but then that's a lot of media you'd have to wash in and out. Plus these chemicals tend to be really expensive to make in large quantities; even though it sounds silly, electrical shocks are probably way more cost-effective.

(The original paper showing that AMPK agonists are exercise mimetics is from back in 2008 but is freely accessible now; note that you can buy AICAR, the compound in that paper, essentially "over the counter" if you count chemical supply companies like Sigma -- not that I would, but it's funny to think about.)
posted by en forme de poire at 2:03 PM on January 2, 2015


ah, soyriz'!

(side note: my supermarket has some incomprehensible shelving strategies - a lot of the fake pre-sliced-sandwich-cold-cut-gone-wrong-things, some of the non-frozen veggie snausages, and the soy chorizo, all live in produce, directly next to the sprouts & hummus & tiny/pre-bagged/fancy/overpriced salads. others live completely across the store next to pre-packaged cheeses. the soyrizo seems to migrate randomly between these two sanctuaries. added hilarity: we actually have 2 different nationally-large supermarkets here, and this bizarre disparity occurs in both)

bought once and swore, never again! ...until all those subsequent stupid times when I'd forgotten the first experience, or hadn't forgotten, "but, c'mon, it couldn't have been that bad"
the product design, in my mind, must have gone something like:
- it has to ooze oil. profusely.
- yes, but it has to be that red RED oil that will stain anything forever.
- what about spices?
- fuck'em, Americans hate spices.
- done!
- (7-martini-lunch)
posted by dorian at 2:23 PM on January 2, 2015


why do I keep forgetting this: 3D medical printing. screw vats.
posted by dorian at 2:33 PM on January 2, 2015


score! from the beginning of this thread, I have been trying to remember a very important thing. rather, I knew what it was but could not remember how to dig it up on the intarwebs. PLIF FTW!
posted by dorian at 2:50 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I quite like Trader Joe's soyrizo. I buy it when I visit my mom so that when she makes tortillas, I can also enjoy a meal from my childhood, but with suiting my diet. A fresh homemade tortilla plus that and some refried beans is pretty much my ideal of comfort food. When I went home for a few days after Christmas, my mom wanted to make some fancy pasta dish for me (veganized, of course) but I was like, "Mom, I can tell you what I want. I want you to make me tortillas and refried beans. That is exactly what I miss so much in Canada."
posted by Kitteh at 3:01 PM on January 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Quorn is delicious as a meat substitute, and I say that as a former vegetarian European who diversified her diet to include bacon a few years ago. I remember taking some in my luggage to Canada in 1994 and baffling the customs officers with it because it wasn't meat and it wasn't plant products.

Now I live in the U.S., I'm happy to evangelize for Quorn, although I preferred the refrigerated fresher version to the frozen kind, which is all we can get here. I can easily get Quorn frozen "tenders" (chunks of chickenlike meat) and grounds (like minced meat) at my local grocery co-op, and love to put them in pasta and risotto bakes. The texture is just right if you want to pretend you're eating chicken. And I just enjoy the texture anyway -- it's like meat without the gristle or weird bits.
posted by vickyverky at 3:07 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


"...claim food tastes best a half an hour after you shoot it with a bow you made yourself."

Not like most of us would ever know the difference--supermarket shrink wrap mindset. Food comes in plastic wrap.
posted by xtian at 4:50 PM on January 2, 2015


I'd don't know about the bow thing but there isn't anything much better than a tomato so fresh out of the garden that it is still growing when you eat it.
posted by Mitheral at 6:09 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I seem to remember reading somewhere that a cardboard taste can be a result of pretty tiny amounts of oxidized lipids, so if that's the problem it doesn't matter what else you put in because what you really need is a higher-quality protein extraction, so you can get rid of every last bit of those compounds that are causing off-flavors.

I can believe that, as the same tase in beer or cider can also be caused by oxidization.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:22 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have to admit, I've never tried Quorn despite it being available at my market. Because of the name I just assumed it was made primarily of corn products and thus carb-heavy.

This thread is the first time I ever learned that Quorn is not, in fact, made out of corn. As a marketing decision, that name is terrible.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:13 PM on January 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, they should totally call it Queat.
posted by flabdablet at 12:37 AM on January 3, 2015


they should have just called it Quonsar.

wait, the Beyond Meat has been around since 2012? (reading comprehension fail, apologies.) - I can already get monkey-chow and soylent-drink-mix-thing on spamazon, but not Beyond Meat?!

also? spam. turkey-spam used to be one of my favoritest things. how hard is it to cram greasy, sodium-pumped-spiced-something into a familiarly-shaped shelf-stable can? seems like a great business plan, because again it's on the order of just-good-enough (or, since it's spam, the bar is set hilariously low already)

if you have the freezer space, the chinese ham logs are delicious. until you temporarily get sick of 5-spice. but it's still no Jack Kennedy, er, spam. i.e., good-thing/bad-thing, you have to supply your own grease/oil to taste.

also also: this is the bacon I mentioned earlier. I find it brilliant that the sad, dry planks sold by morningstar et alia, have those ridiculous white "fat" stripes in them, that, aside from color, are otherwise no different from the rest of the disgusting salt-stick-product. maybe it's supposed to make it taste better via aesthetics? now, in the chinese version, they did-done it right: the meat-colored stripes taste/feel like protein, and the fat-colored stripes are completely different substance and taste/feel like fat (disturbingly-so, if you don't cook it long-enough/correctly)
posted by dorian at 4:07 AM on January 3, 2015


Yeah, Quorn's ok. My kids, who are generally pretty fussy about which sausages they will and won't eat, took to the Quorn ones instantly. The chicken-style pieces are great in things like Thai curries, where they soak up the flavour and give an acceptable texture. The minced beef substitute is also good enough.
posted by pipeski at 12:22 PM on January 3, 2015


I love Quorn, but I also find it one of those annoyingly not vegan products that I sometimes eat anyway. I can't imagine it would lose much if it used something besides egg white. I know vegans aren't a huge segment of the population, but they have to be a pretty respectable minority of the population who would consider eating mycoprotein based fake chicken.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:28 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've also tried 7 million kinds of TVP (mainly to save money and also to have something shelf-stable) and it has never resulted in anything but gym socks (hmm, maybe that's what the juicer is for?)

TVP isn't there for taste, just for texture. Great in a chili or tomato sauce where you otherwise would have ground beef. I like it in tacos at a 1/1 ratio with cooked rice and the same spices you would normally use for that sort of thing.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:35 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


My household will never have Quorn in it.

I was out at a friend's for dinner with my wife, and he put down this dish that smelled pretty good. He was dishing it out, and told us it was Quorn. I paused, grabbed my phone, googled, and then my wife and I left. She is allergic to fungi to the point that she can't have bleu cheese without having problems breathing.

If mycoprotein becomes a dominant food form, my wife has serious health problems for the rest of her life. So hopefully some of these other things, that do not use it, will be reasonable to work with.
posted by mephron at 2:12 PM on January 3, 2015


Drinky Die - maybe pilot error? b/c in all my attempts, it's the entire chili (or whatever) that smells/tastes of gym socks.

blue cheese / fromage-bleu? that's some gym socks I can get into. now, say, vacherin? hrm, drifting towards charted but possibly-difficult territory...
posted by dorian at 4:23 PM on January 3, 2015


Never had that taste experience from TVP, even more plainly prepared. But then I do go for nuclear level spicing most of the time. :P

*shrug* Tastes vary.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:33 PM on January 3, 2015


much envy
posted by dorian at 4:56 PM on January 3, 2015


I think they should name Quorn products after the thing they're meant to resemble. Like, Quicken nuggets would work well as fast food. For a richer taste you might try Quuck. Over in the red meat aisle you would have Queal and Quork, and of course rich, fragrant, servings of Queef. Yum!
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:44 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


rich, fragrant, servings of Queef

golf clap
posted by flabdablet at 6:49 AM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


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