Rude food by Vir Sanghvi: Yes, this ‘meat’ is vegetarian!
All over the US, fake meat has become a craze. It is ‘meat’ that even vegetarians can eat
Is there a way to get vegetarians to eat ‘meat’ and still remain purely vegetarian even while they munch on a nice, juicy hamburger, cooked medium rare, with a little blood oozing onto the bun?
All over the US, financial analysts talk about ‘vegetarian meat’ as the Next Big Thing, on par with, say, Red Bull at its peak or almond or soy milk.
But it is the reporting of such projects that has spurred interest in animal-free meats. Once upon a time, Americans were convinced that the very idea was a joke or an impossibility. Now, enough Americans are willing to concede that it can be done, which is why vegetarian ‘meats’ are flooding the US market.
The idea of trying to mimic the taste and texture of meat with vegetables is hardly new. The Chinese have been making mock meats from wheat gluten and other plant derivatives for centuries. These are made to look like duck or pork and cooked in the same general way. One theory is that these foods were created for the Buddhist fasting period, but they continue to be popular across the board today.
But put it in a real (not fast food but one with a large patty) hamburger, and I don’t think it works at all. I had an Impossible Burger in Singapore last week and I thought it was a complete waste of time.
Fake meat works for those who are concerned about the environment and believe that it is better for the earth if we slaughter less animals and eat more plants. Fake meat certainly meets that requirement. There have also been attempts to suggest that fake meat is healthier than real meat but so far, the evidence is mixed and at best, not very convincing.
Yes, there will be some people who will try them out of curiosity. But I can’t see these people coming back again. It is significant that, as far as I know, the big fast food companies have no immediate plans to bring these meatless burgers to India. Even Burger King, which has the heft to push fake meat to every corner of the Indian market with its 193 stores, says that the Impossible Whopper is not on its list of product launches for India.