Real Vegetables > Fake Meats

Let’s talk about vegetarianism, veganism, ‘alternative’ sources of protein and fakery…

Worried yet?

Don’t be, this isn’t going to be anti-meat rant. While the vast majority of everything I eat is animal free, I do in fact eat meat,  really not very much at all these days but I do.

This also isn’t going to be a rant about militant veganism, I do intensely dislike when other people try to constantly push their views or beliefs onto others, whether they are religious or about whether it is right to farm for food, but that’s an aside.

Instead, this is going to very simply and as calmly as I can manage be a little article about ‘fake meat’ and why it is generally, in my personal opinion of course (let’s not push views), a pretty shit idea.

Some people don’t want to eat animals for various reasons, some do, and that’s fine. Some arguments I would support and some not, but again that really isn’t the point here. The question is why do food producers believe that people who don’t want to eat animals would want to eat fake animals?

Now, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with alternative meat free sources of protein. Seitan is amazing stuff,  I have a complex relationship with tofu but it has it’s place, and textured soya protein is useful despite it’s pretty offputting name. I have no issues with any of these things, no my problem lies squarely with fake meat.

As a slight aside while we are talking about seitan.  I know that gluten intolerance is apparently on the rise which means that are a whole big group of people who will never enjoy the delights of this gluten based product and I feel sorry for them because I think it is amazing stuff, but when I jokingly googled for ‘gluten free seitan’ and got almost two million results I couldn’t decide whether to put my head in my hands or to swear loudly, in the end I think I probably did both. 

So the things that piss me off are…

Fakon (as in fake bacon) and all of it’s many assorted fake relatives. I genuinely fail to understand why anyone would feel the need to make a vegetarian alternative look like meat. Is this some kind of conformist thing, are people afraid to not fit in because they are eating something plant based?

I’m sorry but putting red colouring and fake fat marbling into strips of soy just to make it look as much like bacon as possible seems somehow deeply wrong to me.  The worst offender that I have seen anywhere are fake shrimps, shaped and with added food colouring to look just like they have been plucked freshly from the sea. Why, why, why?

If your need to eat meat is so strong then just eat a piece of meat, don’t try to imitate or replace it with something of approximate appearance and taste, it will never be the same, and there are just so many amazing things that you can do with vegetables that there really isn’t any reason to  miss it anyway!

Oh, and ‘vegetarian chicken’, don’t even get me started on vegetarian chicken. I don’t believe that all vegetarians and vegans secretly deep down really crave chicken and are actually punishing themselves for their ethical or moral beliefs by not eating it. Really, please… 

So, maybe let’s just drop the ‘fake meat’ and instead focus on all of the other amazing ingredients that have nothing at all to do with animal flesh, but do happen to work wonderfully in all sorts of recipes where one might also have used meat.