What’s Up with the Fake Meat?

Last weekend I attempted to make a vegan dish from my Vegan on the Cheap cookbook. I was gunning to make these cutlets made from beans. They were easy enough to make and tasted ok, but 30 minutes later my stomach wasn’t happy with what I had done to it. Although we had leftovers, we tossed them. Sometimes my experimental vegan cooking works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Just like anything else. I’m not including any pictures here because the cutlets were not terribly pretty, but that’s probably my doing. I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying them. It just wasn’t for me.

The thing about vegetarian/vegan cooking that I am learning is that I do not seem to be a big fan of the fake meats. Even when they taste good and sit fine with me, there’s something about saying I’m a vegetarian but eating something that looks like a sausage (or chicken) but isn’t. If I’m a vegetarian, shouldn’t I not be concerned with trying to recreate meat foods in bean form? Shouldn’t I say, “Hey, I don’t eat meat, and I’m not interested in trying to pretend I’m eating it.” Why do  we try to make fake meats? They certainly don’t taste like the actual meat they are meant to represent.

The one thing fake meats can do for you is make dinner easier. If I had a fake chicken (bean) cutlet, I would certainly know what to pair with it. It makes dinner planning familiar (for me anyways, since I am used to planning meals that are meat-based). Had my cutlets been good I was already plotting a zillion ways to serve them and all of them harked back to the time when I ate chicken. Cooking vegetarian and vegan meals without a fake meat to build them around is harder when you have spent your whole life eating meat, but what would anyone expect? It’s a lifestyle change. Of course it’s going to be difficult at times.

So what’s up with the fake meat? Do you eat it? Why? Do you think it’s silly to call yourself a vegetarian or vegan and eat fake meat?

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Penelope
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 23:24:21

    My vegetarianism happened by accident. We did the Nativity (Advent) fast last year, and by week two I realised how the majority of my GI issues were just GONE. I knew then that I needed to keep it going. (Oddly, fish/seafood is ok, but I don’t eat it often.) I dont really do fake meats, because I dont buy a lot of packaged stuff. I do enjoy a good falafel, which could be considered a veggie burger, sooo… I certainly dont think of a person as any “less” of a vegetarian to eat fake meat, though. Whatever floats your boat, right. (Heck, I will eat fish, and that is an actual REAL meat!)

    What I do tend to do more and more these days is to use beans as a base for a meal, pretty much the way I used meat before. (Example: bean tortilla: on one tortilla, spread mashed black beans to taste. Add a mix of stewed onions, tomatoes and garlic. Grate some cheddar and top with second tortilla. Bake 325 for tenish minutes. Use liberal hot sauce. I used to do meat tortillas effectively the same way but this is way more delicious.) And there are SO MANY other great recipes with beans as the centerpiece! So, I suppose that beans are my fake meat. But not really.The key is to buy dry beans and soak them overnight before cooking, eliminates all the, um, gassy issues that are common.

    I enjoy your veg posts. It is like a giant adventure, isnt it, finding new ways to serve mostly plant based foods? A very yummy one.

    Reply

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  3. Desi
    Sep 21, 2013 @ 13:54:14

    I am vegan and I eat fake meats. When I first became vegan a few year ago I concerned myself with only whole foods and as much raw as I could get. But out of convenience and wanting to have nastalgia in my meals I have turned to fake meats. I think it’s the valid choice of each vegetarian or vegan, and don’t really see it as being a contradiction. We are all different so e will not all be the same type of vegan. Some only eat raw foods.. Some eat lots of junk foods like I do. I just because a person becomes a vegan does not mean he loses the memories he had of being a meat eater. If fake meats allows certain vegans and vegetarians to continue their diet and cause less suffering to animals then what’s the complaint other than having some holier than thou vegans who feel it’s not the pure thing to do. I just don’t care how others live or eat and maybe that’s why I see this topic as silly.

    Reply

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  5. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Aug 31, 2014 @ 00:57:19

    What’s Up with the Fake Meat? http://t.co/71YMuaLM2h #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

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