Cross: Vegans, please leave your meat obsession at the door
For those whose meatless Mondays have become fleshless forevers, deliverance is at hand. The veggie burger is here. Recent commercials by A&W tout the company’s Beyond Meat Burger and its Beyond Meat Sausage and Egger breakfast sandwich. Actors wax ecstatic over the product, exclaiming it “tastes exactly like meat.”
That meat memory is a big positive, apparently. So why not eat the real thing? Forget the foodie flim-flam.
If you believe eating meat is cruel, stresses the environment or contributes to chronic ailments, then why sculpt faux burgers, ribs, roasts and steaks out of veggies and grains to imitate the very animal flesh you profess to abhor? Seems counterintuitive to me.
As a species we evolved as omnivores, but I get it that you don’t eat meat. Go ahead, do you. What I don’t get is this obsession with creating stuff to look like meat. You gave it up, remember?
Sorting out the who’s who of anti-carnivores, there are vegetarians who choose vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts. Vegans, a higher order of vegetarian, do not eat any meat, or eggs, dairy or ingredients such as gelatin from animal collagen. There are pescatarians (from pesce, Italian for fish) who will eat fish, and ovo-lacto vegetarians who will consume eggs and milk products. Finally, there are flexitarians, who eat mostly plants and occasionally some meat or fish. Like when that meatatarian craving hits and you can’t face any more bluff beef or pretender pork.
Canada’s re-vamped food guide recommends swapping out some meat, poultry and dairy for plant-based proteins. But the key is a balanced diet, not a meat boycott. European Union food regulations state, “labelling cannot be misleading as to a food’s primary composition” so the EU approved consumer labelling banning the use of meaty terms such as burger, escalope, hamburger, sausage and steak, in favour of “veggie disks” and “veggie tubes” to describe plant-based replicas. So, “vegan meat balls” is a no-no but “vegan balls” are fine. That wraps it up.
When we were kids, my cousins and I ate slices of fried bologna, which we jokingly called “tubular steak.” We all survived and are healthy. We now binge on SPAM, that spiced ham in a can with a key first conceived by Hormel Foods way back last century, followed by mouthfuls of Twinkies for dessert. Delish.
When we were kids, my cousins and I ate slices of fried bologna, which we jokingly called “tubular steak.” We all survived and are healthy.
All this substitution of fake flesh for the real thing has led to creative linguistics. A quick guide to speaking vegan includes “crumble” referring to a crunchy texture masquerading as bacon bits or ground beef. “Toona” is sham seafood from soy and veggie protein. A “flegg” is a non-egg made from flax meal and water. Soy or almond “milk” is a bogus bovine beverage of plant juice. Real milk comes from cows that eat plants. For Christmas, combine flegg with that beverage to make nutnog. It goes with that imposter gobbler called “Tofurky.” Should vegan bacon be called “vacon”? Or, is that just more phoney baloney? Is non-dairy cheese called “teese” or “sheese”? Whatever it is, it is not cheese. Sort of reminiscent of that venerable iridescent processed goop in a bottle called Cheez Whiz, isn’t it?
In the Ottawa area, the cleverly named Fauxmagerie Zengarry is up front about its products. It manufactures six flavours of all-natural artisanal cashew “cheese” or “fromage” at Alexandria in the Township of North Glengarry for those who “love cheese but not the dairy,” whether they are vegan or have milk allergies. It’s not real cheese and it doesn’t pretend to be. Hooray, honestly!
But by constructing copycat meat, vegetarians are secret meatarians. Just enjoy fruit and veggie fodder unaccompanied by reminders of past carnivore chow. Otherwise, cut the herbivore hype.