A Vegetarian’s Blood Lust For Chicken Achieved

I don’t have anything against vegetarians and vegans. Whether they adhere to this way of life for health reasons, ethical reasons, or the perception that it benefits the environment, I respect their decision.

They sure eat some strange stuff, though.

I toyed with vegetarianism in the early 2000s and remember my experience with a packet of organic God-Knows-What that was supposed to turn a block of firm tofu into egg salad. Well, if you squinted at it from a distance it looked like egg salad, but I recall the flavor falling far short of what it was attempting to replace.

The whole fake meat industry is kind of absurd, really. Think about this in reverse: imagine industry trying to make a steak look like vegetables. Absurd, right? What you have is ex-carnivores trying to satisfy a natural blood-lust with a laboratory product made from what used to be food. I say ‘used to’ because whatever its original form, what remains of the soy or corn or whatever was the basis for a particular concoction is totally divorced from its original nature.

Am I overstating this? Read this description of scientists trying to create what is apparently the holy grail of vegetarians: fake chicken that simulates real flesh:

“The first soy product that not only can be flavored to taste like chicken but also breaks apart in your mouth the way chicken does: not too soft, not too hard, but with that ineffable chew of real flesh. When you pull apart the Missouri invention, it disjoins the way chicken does, with a few random strands of “meat” hanging loosely.”

This certainly sounds like it is meant to appeal to a vegetarian’s natural and normal blood lust, don’t ya think? If meat was really ‘disgusting’ to them, this description would sound pretty awful.

It kind of grosses me out – and I eat meat.

What grosses me out even more is how they make it:

First, you take a dry mixture of soy-protein powder and wheat flour, add water and dump it into an industrial extruder, which is essentially a gigantic food processor. (You have to climb a ladder to get to the hole at the top.) At first, the mixture looks like cake batter. But as it’s run through the gears of the extruder and heated to precisely 346°F (175°C), the batter firms up and forms complex striations. It took Hsieh and Huff many years to get the temperature right, and it also took years to discover how to cool the soy cake very quickly, before it could melt.

Doesn’t that make your mouth water?

In my semi-vegetarian years, I did find a few meat substitutes that were OK. The rest sucked. My wife hated them all. She was a heck of a lot happier with what I cooked when I switched to a meat-filled low carb diet.

So was the dog.

Anyway, you can read more about this fake chicken milestone here, and take a lookee here at a slide show of other fake meats that keep the inner carnivore of vegetarians at bay.

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5 thoughts on “A Vegetarian’s Blood Lust For Chicken Achieved

  1. Totally! It reminds me of when people decide, for whatever reason, not to eat high carb foods. And then they go all out to fake those things they aren’t eating (crackers, bread, pasta, pizza, muffins, etc.) with low carb ingredients! What nonsense, right?

    Just try to imagine wanting to make low carb food look and taste like the high carb stuff… like “pork rind stuffing.” *shaking my head and giving you a wink*

  2. LOL no atonement necessary. We eat what we eat and what makes us happy in mind & body.

    I’ve moved to Germany with the military and the last 2 years of living in the land of Beer & Brotchen has brought me back to a miserable 129 lbs that I just can’t shake. It’s 9 lbs of hanging in the middle misery.

    My daughter started looking at the vegetarian life and our freezer became full of bocca burgers and tofu chicken wings. I was all… “ummm?” but on the other hand, my low carb soy mix to make muffins is in the same freezer.

    Ah well. Eat healthy, and as I have found, eat the diet that balances your body.

    • I’d say that…it depends. If you take an ethical or environmental approach to vegetarianism, believing that it is better for the environment or that it’s against your belief system to kill animals to eat, then to satisfy a blood lust with plant-based food does help you achieve your end. Is it healthier? Is it healthy at all? Those are different questions entirely.

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