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30 January 2007

"Give me one more chance..."

2006 Kitchen Calendar, Toronto, ON, 30-Jan-07

"...and you'll be

Exactly a week ago, PF and I were introduced to a brand of fake chicken we'd never tasted before, and I still can't get over it. Except for the ground soy that PF uses in his chili, I'd never come across any meat alternatives that so resembled the flesh they mimicked. When I saw the bird-shaped roast that Jeff and Vanessa had prepared, I was stunned. If I wasn't certain that J&V are vegetarian, I would have assumed that they'd cooked up a little pheasant.

It was brilliant! It had tiny fake drumsticks -- these rounded, crispy, seitan nuggets -- skewered on small wood dowels instead of bone.

I've known some vegetarians who hate it when their fake meat looks, tastes and feels like real meat. Most of them believe that meat alternatives shouldn't have to pander. Yet I've known more vegetarians who welcome these innovations, as it gives them the opportunity to serve animal-free entrees to even the most obstinate carnivores. Dinner guests aside, it's nice to have variety, which is something vegetarians don't routinely encounter outside the home.

I'm definitely not a committed meat eater, but I'm not a committed vegetarian, either. We don't often buy or cook meat at home, yet we can't say that this is an ethical decision. (We eat veggie chili and veggie burgers because they're healthier than their traditional red meat counterparts.) After enjoying that fake chicken, however, I find it difficult to argue against a meatless diet. It seems lacking in nothing; it has flavour, texture and nutrients. With the assorted diseases and environmental damage linked to beef, chicken and fish, meat substitutes increasingly appear to be the only viable option.

I may be turning a corner here! My dad is totally going to roll his eyes.

TRACK LISTING: U2, "Even Better Than the Real Thing"

[NOTE: Another U2 song in less than a week!]


Betagal said...

I am totally right there with you on the fake meat thing until you get to the bacon. I will eat fake chorizo, fake sausage, fake chicken, fake rack of lamb, you name it and I will usually even enjoy it!

But bacon? I honestly don't think it can be done. Know why? Because it's made of *magic*.

Miss Imperial said...

I hear you. I did have some good fakin-bacon in Winnipeg once, but I think I was ready for that particular taste and texture that morning. It was indistinguishable from fake bologna, which I suppose is not a compliment.

Bacon really is evil for you in so many ways -- in terms of health alone, two slices add up to at least 200 calories and 36 grams of fat! Yikes. Yet we had BLTs last weekend, and they were awesome. Save me!

Khan said...

josh-bot is glad to eat largely vegetarian with me all the time, especially because of a particular brand of fake chicken (and they make amazing turkey roast, too) that we get. i actually put some of my mom's christmas turkey in my mouth this past holiday to taste it, and it confirmed that the stuff we get really does genuinely taste like turkey. and it's made from mico (mushroom) protein, so people who don't get along with soy can eat it without crapping for a week. good stuff.

Miss Imperial said...

MUSHROOM PROTEIN! Brilliant. I'm now very curious about your particular brand of fake chicken. Fake meat makers are totally bringing their A game to the dinner table.

"'A' game"! "To the table"! TWO overused expressions in one sentences!

Miss Imperial said...

Come to think of it...maybe the chicken that Jeff and Vanessa served was made of mico. Hmm.