Several years ago, I heard about “Beyond Meat,” a new company making soy- and pea-based plant foods that taste like meat. Evidently they’re finally making imitation meat that’s pretty good, or at least good enough that if you pay a fourth-place baseball team with an already-vested spokesperson to eat it, they will eat it. (By the way, that spokesperson, Mets’ captain David Wright, missed all three games since it was reported he had a bite of the fake burger. Hmmm… coincidence?)
I am happy consumers have a choice, and if a small sector of people chooses the fake stuff, I can handle that. But my blood boiled when I heard that food-savvy people like Andrew Zimmern, Bill Gates, and others I put in the “smart” category were backing the imitation products.
In case you don’t know, Zimmern traveled the world through his Bizzare Foods show to explain and experience how other cultures enjoy foods we might find disgusting. Gates, the founder of Microsoft, donates billions of dollars to solve hunger-related crises worldwide. This seems to be a huge contradiction to me; I’ll explain more below.
Milk’s newest imitator
Today, I learned that there’s another potential imitation opponent on the scene for dairy farmers: fake milk. We’ve already got the oils squeezed out of soybeans, almonds, rice, and other nuts masquerading as ‘milk.’ But the new fake on the block is a completely artificial milk being developed in Ireland. As you might guess, the reason for the initiative is the “environmental damage, greenhouse gases and water pollution” found on the “industrial farming operations in North America,” according to researchers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, who spoke with the UK’s Daily Mail.
But as we head towards an artificial world, something’s missing.
It doesn’t taste right
We live in a world with many terrible inconsistencies.
The customer is always right, but hot dogs still come in packs of 10 and buns in 8s. People who fly first class “get” first chance to climb into an enclosed space with terrible food. Worse yet, the town of Pilger, Neb., can’t rebuild with basements after being decimated by a tornado.
But, by far, the biggest contradictions revolve around everyone’s favorite food buzzword: sustainability. If we forget the social and financial components (oh, you need to make money?), the number one solution for environmental sustainability in some camps seems to be carbon-intensive local production and consumption (of which I’m in whole-hearted support) of a plants-only diet.
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