You Mean That This Isn’t Meat?!

March 8, 2009 at 9:43 am 1 comment

There are so many options nowadays for the meat-missing vegan/vegetarian. When I walk into my local HEB (supermarket chain here in Texas) I notice that there’s a large portion of the produce section set aside for he faux meats. I’m noticing that it’s becoming more and more popular for these stores to carry products like Tofurky, Lightlife or Morningstar. As a veg, seeing any of these products out of package and out of context, you would steer clear. They look and smell like real sausages/burgers/bacon/chicken nuggets. My husband was raised on the Chik’n Nuggets from Morningstar and didn’t know until he was 15 that they were actually soyprotein and not chicken. You can imagine his surprise, as a non-vegetarian teenager who loves his meat, finding out that all thsoe years his mom had actually been feeding him fake chik’n. Now as an adult, he’s grateful for the taste for fake chik’n that his mom had helped develop.

Speaking of which, it’s actually sometimes pretty difficult to become aclimated to these fake meats. Many of them have textures that are similar but not just right… A veg wouldn’t really complain; it’s protein and it resembles something that they might have enjoyed at one point. But for someone who’s used to a big honkin’ peice of meat or big meaty burgers would be surprised to bite into one of these and not find themselves chewing for 3 years straight. I know that when I still thought of the mock meats as meat substitutes, I really hated them. I coudn’t stand their texture and for some reason I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that they were closer cousins to the Crayola wax Crayons than to my forgotten friend, animal meat. Once I was able to just think of them as protein sources instead, I began to really enjoy them!

I especially find them useful in social situations when explaining that you’re not eating a huge meaty burger would be awkward. Case in point:  Every year my grandparents host what they call a “Fish Party.” All of the residents at the adult home that my Aunt (she’s mentally retarded) lives in comes over to their place and sits around the pond. They all fish and have lots of fun, and then they set the fish free after they catch, of course. Afterwards, everyone sits down and chows down on freshly-grilled beef burgers. This is the first year that I’ll be attending the Fish Party to help out with the residents. I’m still not sure how I feel about them fishing to begin with, but I’ve already figured out a solution to the burger issue.  Morningstar burgers look soo similar to real beef burgers that no one will know the difference, and the difficulty I would have trying to explain to mentally challenged people that I’m not eating animal meat is instantly gone. And, more importantly, I can enjoy in the same activities as my meat-loving family. As much as I want to stand out sometimes and really show people my true colors about animal rights and vegetarianism, I know that there are some times that I just want to fade into the background and just be treated like everyone else.

Give some of these products a try, even if you’re not vegetarian. You’ll be surprised to figure out that they actually taste pretty good, they have a similar quality to meat products. I’m not promising anything here, so don’t bite into a Tofurky bratwurst and expect it to taste *exactly* like a brat, but at least give it a chance. Maybe you’ll taste it and give Vegetarianism a chance. Maybe not. Maybe you’ll just find another protein source that you can enjoy without the added bonus of saturated fats.



Entry filed under: vegan, vegetarian. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Veggieblog Spotlight! Looks good enough to eat.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. karisullivan  |  March 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    I like almost all fake meats. I especially like things like tempeh bacon and field roast that are “meaty” but not trying to be exactly like a particular meat. That being said, many years ago Boca burgers were what convinced me I could be a vegetarian. So I still have to give it up for the meat substitutes, even if I don’t always eat them.

    (BTW, I live in Austin too! Small world.)


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