I am about 80% vegetarian right now, which shocks no one more than it shocks me. So I really resonated with something Shannon Downey posted recently on Instagram about the downside of the rise of Impossible burgers.
It’s certainly laudable that things that look and feel and taste like meat are getting more folks onto an eco-conscious plant-based diet. The problem is when these options take over the only “vegetarian” option on restaurant menus.
Yes, there are tons of folks who aren’t vegetarian because the love the taste of meat. But there are a ton of people—like Shannon—who are vegetarian in part because the feeling of eating animal flesh makes them queasy. And no matter what, if you are vegetarian long enough, you start to fall into this camp.
I was thunderstruck by her observation as a recent mostly-vegetarian convert who has struggled (yes, even in 2019!) to find appetizing vegetarian dishes when I eat out. I am picky about veggie burgers, but when I find a great one there are few things I like better. I recently made these Indian-spiced ones at Eli’s birthday party, and they were gone before the meat ones. They were like a delicious deconstructed samosa.
It hadn’t occurred to me, but that must feel sh*tty to have lived a nutritional choice for so long and been made fun of, and had to eat lame meals as a result, only to have the single vegetarian option now taken over by something that’s selling point is being just like meat.
I was glad to see the Washington Post subsequently take up the same line with this piece on the staying power of actual veggie burgers. From the piece: “But the increasing ubiquity of these meat facsimiles on menus has created a strange moment for those of us who long ago chose to eschew the consumption of animal flesh: Where are the burgers for people who don’t want to eat anything that tastes like meat? What was once the most reliable menu item for non-meat-eaters has become almost overtaken by these tech options, appearing with trademark symbols on menus, and a fear pervades: Will true veggie burgers go extinct?”
An interesting angle the Post takes is about the distrust of technology here versus consuming real food.
We’ve got a couple of threads on vegetarian eating, but I’d love to explore the wonderful world of the best veggie burgers before they are gone!
So I asked this week, what the best veggie burger you ever had was? At a restaurant? Homemade? Dare I hope there’s a great freezer version?
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Who’s coming to the 2019 Flee?
- Pumping + maintaining supply – help!
- Tell me about the best veggie burger you’ve ever eaten/made. (Impossible/beyond burgers don’t count!)