Boca, Cooking, Field Roast, Gardein, meat analog, orgasmatron, Quorn, Sex Toys, Thomas Keller, Tofurky, Vegetarianism
Reblogging this favorite post for all you folks who have vegetarians or vegans coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Cheers!
But Linnet, say my friends. How does a woman of your lusty appetites manage without meat? Don’t you feel… frustrated and deprived?
As a matter of fact, I answer, meat analogs are like sex toys. They aren’t the real thing. They’re ersatz. Faux. Mock. But sometimes they hit the spot rather well. Especially if the real thing’s not on the menu. And like sex toys, some meat analogs are sui generis, good things in and of themselves, rather than inferior substitutes.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, and to my mind it is the best holiday of the year, both because it is non-commercial (in spite of the horrific encroachment of “Black Friday”) and because it is a gastronomic holiday, on which we give thanks for our food. In honor of the upcoming Day of Grace, I offer this contemplation of Tofurky and its cousins.
I gave up meat more than twenty years ago for ethical reasons. And I know what I’m missing. I was the kind of kid who, at the age of six, precociously craved not only rare Porterhouse steaks, but Underwood Deviled Ham, liverwurst and pepperoni. (Don’t get me started on pepperoni. It was the last thing to go.) Now, it has been so long that I don’t think of those things as options any more. I’m not tempted to whore after a big juicy steak, even if its fragrance makes me salivate. But… if chunks of savory, salty, umami-laden plant protein are on offer, I’ll be there to see whether they ring my bell.
Meat analogs, as I like to call them, have improved a lot since the old days. When I first tasted Quorn, I couldn’t believe how good it was. (We decided to stop eating it because the US version, sadly, contains factory-farmed eggs.) It doesn’t taste quite like chicken, which is fine in my book. It’s satisfyingly substantial and has an appealingly moist, non-greasy texture.
Gardein vegan products are also excellent, tender and juicy. The most successful analogs are those that aim for a toothy bite full of subtle savor, but don’t strain to imitate meat. The beef analogs are far behind the chix in quality, though Gardein isn’t bad.
No, there isn’t any veal analog, gods be praised.
Tofurky, a much-ridiculed pioneer, has a tendency to become tough and rubbery, especially if overcooked. But when properly prepared, it’s better than many a slice of dried-out turkey breast. On the other hand, I’d say don’t bother with the Tofurky gravy. You must make your own mushroom gravy, preferably in mass quantities (roux + browned mushrooms + veggie broth and/or tamari + herbs and a hint of garlic). You can never have too much gravy!
I am extremely fond of veggie sausages, Boca being my favorite for breakfast (in bed, natch!). The big Tofurkey Italian sausages brown beautifully, and they add spice and heat to my kale soup. Everything made by Field Roast is utterly delicious. My favorite indulgence is the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute.
When it comes to flavor, no meat analog of today is going to beat a Wagyu steak or a chicken roasted by that culinary alchemist Thomas Keller. But we humans have been perfecting our meat cookery for thousands of years. By comparison, we’ve only experimented with meat analogs for a microsecond. Eventually some chef-scientist of the future will come up with the plant-protein equivalent of the orgasmatron. I hope I’m there to sample its pleasures with a bottle of whatever the sommelier recommends.
- Sex Up Your Positions With Sex Toys (segzionline.wordpress.com)
- Pass the Tofurky: Fake Meat No Longer Just for Vegetarians (fora.tv)
- Fake meat targets flexitarians (theconscientiousomnivore.wordpress.com)
- Resource: Nate’s Meatless Meatballs (vegtosterone.com)
I love a good, firm seitan…
What the devil is that? (heh, heh). I’m very fond of seitan too and wish I was virtuous enough to make my own. Sometimes we can get it in Asian restaurants that do the Buddhist temple cuisine. Always delicious!
Ooooh, that rubbery texture… why you did not mention it, preferably in the same sentence as sex toys, is anyone’s guess!
Now, good seitan isn’t rubbery, but toothsome and inviting. Al dente, one might say… yes, I missed the boat on that one! But I was classing it with the home-made meat substitutes, like bean-burgers and chickpea cutlets. Haven’t figured out a way to sex those up yet, but give me time;)
My newly pregnant friend said that her baby-in-the-making was the size of a chickpea. But that’s sex gone waaaaay too far, if you ask me.
I’ve never heard of any fantasies where people ate pulses off each other. Whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sushi…yes… but lentil dhal… aduki bean cutlets? “Ooooh, honey, put your edamameinme…!” Nope, that doesn’t really have a sexy ring to it, does it?
I’d know just what to do with a really velvety, creamy hummus. There’s no rule that says you have to eat it off pitas.
Very garlicky, though…
Garlic is OK if both people eat it;)
Expat Eye said:
I could say ‘tofurky’ all night and not get bored 😉 In fact, I think I might! My dad had a stroke around Xmas a few years back. I told my friend in Riga that we were on our way to the hospital with some turkey sandwiches for him. He replied ‘Eeegads, hasn’t the poor man been through enough?’
Turkey, it’s not for everyone. 🙂
Tofurky is pretty funny, but what really gets me is this dish called “Turducken” where they stuff a turkey with a duck that’s stuffed with a chicken. I just can’t get past the first four letters…
Expat Eye said:
Ha ha ha! Yes, it doesn’t sound terribly appetising, does it?!
You’ve named off so many of my favorite meat subs and one I’ve not tried before so thanks for the heads up. Living in a mixed family of vegetarians and ‘meat ‘n potatoe men’ I’ve had to do a lot of meals with twice the menu cooking. My daughter decided around age 4 that she no longer wanted to eat anything that once had a face. I thought that fair enough and helped her stick to it. It’s expanded my culinary adventures tremendously.
Lovely post as usual, Linnet!
Many thanks! Amazing and wonderful that your daughter made such a decision at age four and then stuck to it, with your help!
I have a ball every year trying all the non-turkey holiday roasts. Easy and quick to cook, and unlike with turkey, I always wish I had more leftovers…
Re “meat analogues are like sex toys. They aren’t the real thing. They’re ersatz. Faux. Mock. But sometimes they hit the spot rather well. Especially if the real thing’s not on the menu. And like sex toys, some meat analogs are sui generis, good things in and of themselves, rather than inferior substitutes.”
I think that has to be one the best lead-in nut graphs I have ever read!
And I couldn’t help but note that many of the recipe images contain delicious looking comestibles that are rather tubular in construction. Well done. I’d certainly enjoy these. 😉
Many thanks! I’m trying to make my lead-in sentences more interesting, because the Reader only shows one sentence! Some people have it set to show the whole post, but I can’t figure out how to do that.
And yes, I get a lot of satisfaction from my meat analogs. My little harem 😉
Ha! 😉 And speaking of things phallic, here’s a beauty of a post by a fellow Armitage fan that I think you might find interesting:
LOVED it! Thanks for pointing me to her blog!
It is a really good blog, isn’t it? Glad you think so also.
fb ads cracked price don wilson said:
I do consider all the ideas you’ve introduced for your post.
They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick
for beginners. Could you please extend them a bit from next time?
Thank you for the post.
Thanks for the feedback!
Excellent post title. I couldn’t help but click. And I hate Tofurky, but I wondered if there was another secret use for it that might redeem its worth.
Totally true about “good things in and of themselves”…I like tofu when it’s not meant to be a substitute for meat. Call it tofu, think of it as tofu, it’s delicious. But shape it in the form of a turkey and I might have to play with my food 🙂
Don’t ask me what I’d do. I haven’t figured that out yet!
Thanks! This is an older post but still a favorite.
Pingback: Vegan Night at Linnet’s | Linnet Moss
Reblogged this on Linnet Moss and commented:
Reblogging this favorite post, for all you folks out there who have a vegetarian or vegan guest coming to Thanksgiving dinner 🙂
Loved this! i’d like to try some of those, have really enjoyed nut roasts in the past i really like tofu in whichever form. I’m not a vegetarian, but half of my friends are and when we go out it’s nice to try places where they actually have options and not just pasta or rice 😉 Since once doesn’t like south Indian food, which i really like (boy can they cook veg!) we went for my bday dinner to a more classic vegetarian:
I’m not so sure about meat substitutes.. but i guess that is because i still have it, if there was something that could substitute the craving for bacon and sausage i’d go for that i really hope they come up with something that tastes like that 🙂 What i really really enjoy is really meals with just vegetables cooked in creative ways, Which is why we absolutely loved the meal there, everything tasted fab, above link just for inspiration. Will be going there again! And thankfully there was variety as i haven’t met a vegetable yet that i didn’t like and it’s what frustrates me in normal places often that they only use about 4-5 and it gets boring really quickly!
Will aim to try some of the above and see how it goes 🙂 and will recommend them to a friends who’s trying things out as she has very recently decided to go vegetarian.
Ah, The Gate, I wanted to try them when we were in London, but we didn’t manage to get out to Islington. London is a mecca for vegetarians, the most v-friendly big city I have visited. I love South Indian food too, especially dosas! And I am also a sausage devotee. I like Boca breakfast sausages. To me they are as good as the real thing and they brown up very nicely. Bacon is more difficult, but I discovered that Italian frico (cheese crisps) sometimes develop a stunningly bacon-like flavor! http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/frico.aspx
I have met lots of vegetables I didn’t like, but as a vegetarian I have been able to appreciate them more. Especially the greens 🙂
I like how it’s your fave holiday as you are ‘giving thanks for your food.’ Happy Thanksgiving to you and the LSH. Enjoy your tofurky. (That word makes me giggle.) a lot of meat substitutes are out for the Yak these days. It’s amazing what has gluten in it!
Yes, I realize when I look at the labels how extensively they use gluten. We just bought a package of quinoa burgers to try, but unfortunately I can’t seem to get excited about quinoa in any form…
This was a lovely reminder of all the choices available for this year’s holiday tables, Linnet. The pictures and descriptions have me wishing I had a buffet to sample right this minute. I suppose I should just eat breakfast, right?
A Happy non-turkey turkey day to you!
And to you and yours, Shelley!
Nice post. They are working on better meat substitutes: http://www.wired.com/2013/09/fakemeat/
And the world will be a better place once they really succeed.
Happy American Thanksgiving. (Canadians have theirs In October.)
Sorry for the late reply but I love your posts on vegan food! People don’t listen to vegans when we say how good vegan food tastes as we have a reputation as joyless fanatics, so it’s wonderful when someone who obviously knows and enjoys great food praises the vegan stuff. We don’t have the range of products you do over there but in the past couple of years the major supermarkets have begun to stock fake meats and other goodies. I look forward to the day I can try Tofurkey, if only for the pleasure of saying “Tofurkey.”
Aww, you don’t even have Tofurky? I hope the distribution gets better. It’s good fun, and new products keep appearing.
I’ve talked to meat eaters who question why we would want to eat this stuff, since it imitates meat. But I used to be a meat lover. I gave it up solely for ethical reasons. If I can have some delicious chewy umami that’s cruelty free, it makes me very happy 🙂
Oddly, after 25 years, I think I have crossed over to the other side, where I wouldn’t even want “real” meat grown in a test tube. I’d rather have the analogues.