Tyrion Lannister

My Fake Meat

Filed By Tyrion Lannister | July 29, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

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I found this article (via Yglesias) pretty interesting:

A new study suggests that you should think about biting your tongue: According to the researchers, how we feel about a sausage, regardless of whether it's soy-based or beef, says more about our personal values than about what the sausage actually tastes like. In fact, most people can't even tell the difference between an ersatz vegan sausage and the real thing.

I want to believe! But I remain a skeptic. There are a variety of fake meats -- smart brats and boca burgers, in particular -- that I really enjoy. But I don't really like them because they approximate either brats or burgers, which I also eat and enjoy, so much as because they are both excellent, non-offensive vehicles for my favorite condiment, ketchup. Whenever the fake meat product itself comes to the forefront, I'm substantially less interested. Tofurkeys, for example, I think are pretty appalling. This isn't true about steak, burgers, and sausages, which I frequently enjoy without any condiment at all.

Now, according to this theory, this is mostly a function of my own cultural identification with meat-eating, rather than, say, an actual difference in taste and texture. But I'm one of those overeducated, anti-authority, latte-sipping lefties who should be mostly likely to enjoy a tofu-dog and should be disgusted by the factory farming system. As it happens, I am disgusted by factory farming, but I still find meat -- especially pork -- really delicious. What gives? Indieats?


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Full disclosure: I don't like sausage. That said, when I've tasted most of the fake meats, the sausage tasted just as crappy as the real stuff. The Boca Burgers are good though. I love those things. They don't really taste like meat so much as a Boca Burger, but they're good!