When I mention my love of vegan substitutes for meat, people sometimes say “Why would you want that?” They suggest that I really ought to be a purist and stay away from any food that looks or tastes like meat. As a vegetarian, I ought to be uncompromising, exacting, and strict in my vigilance against MEAT-LIKE SUBSTANCES! Yes, I really ought to content myself with the green salad, the stuffed squash half or the grilled portobello sandwich.
Of course, none of these Puritans are vegetarians themselves. Many vegetarians would agree, it’s true. But I love my savory protein. For me, avoiding meat is an ethical choice, not an aesthetic one. Though oddly enough, in recent months I have twice ingested meat by accident, with stomach-churning results. The first time was a sauerkraut ball that turned out to have ground meat in it (NOT mentioned on the menu). The second was an innocent looking ball of fried dough which I cut open to examine first. It looked meatless but contained ground chicken. Both of those times, the taste of actual meat nauseated me. (Warning to vegetarians: keep your distance from strangers’ balls. Stick to balls you know and love.)
That nauseated feeling never happens to me with meat analogues. Maybe they’re different enough in flavor and texture, or maybe it’s just a psychological thing, Our most recent taste test was the Field Roast “Smokey Forager’s Roast with Pineapple Mustard Glaze.” It is very reminiscent of a meatloaf, but with a bread cube/squash stuffing. The “glaze” is to be added in the last 15 minutes of cooking. It doesn’t really melt to coat the roast, but sits on top in clumps and gets brown. Still, it tastes good.
The “meatloaf” part of the roast is nicely tomato-ey, and the stuffing is very tasty, with complex flavors from the mushrooms, garlic, wine and squash. The bread cubes give it a good texture, too. But I didn’t notice a “smokey” flavor.