this bacon contains no bacon.

i make it no secret that, when it comes to food at least, i hate when things masquerade as something they’re not. i don’t mean the acrobatics, known as molecular gastronomy, practiced by ferran adria and his (more or less) disciples thomas keller, heston blumenthal, and grant achatz. i can appreciate their attention to detail, intense study of chemical properties, and the overall playfulness behind their creations (and their cuisines aren’t meant to be eaten daily).

instead my displeasure is focused on a trend in vegetarian cooking of using meatless meat. until recently i thought this scourge was limited to the freezer section of the grocery store, where my sister continuously finds packages of meatballs that contain absolutely no meat (doesn’t the fda require some sort of honesty in labeling these items?). to my horror, i’ve now discovered that there exist entire restaurants serving this fare. one, greensboro’s boba house, was recommended to me tonight.

there are so many quotation marks on their menu, one could mistake it for the work of john bartlett. elsewhere, they list products, which are vegetable proteins disguised as meat. i see nothing wrong with eating a vegetarian diet, but all of the reasons for pretending vegetables are something else are unsatisfactory. is this really necessary to make vegetables palatable? has the market dried up for locally-grown vegetables, prepared simply? it’s a byproduct of america’s obsession with appearances, inventing healthiness, the idea that seaweed and assorted unpronounceable things, molded into a fish filet, can both eliminate our seafood craving (because of visual trickery, i suppose) and make us healthier (because any actual meat will kill us, i am told).

the most incomprehensible and represensible item on the page is something called chicken ham. honestly, now they’re just fucking with us. it’s as if they’re saying, scott, you thought the idea of faux shrimp was bothersome, just wait until we combine two names of meat into one imitation. are we to expect chicken cordon bleu?

if meat is murder, though, then dressing vegetables in meat costumes is akin to faking your own death in order to escape. as michael pollan writes in in defense of food, eat food. not too much. mostly plants. to me, we’re better off following that message than blindly eating something with a definable shape but indeterminate ingredients.


Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “this bacon contains no bacon.”

  1. scott lefaive Says:

    seriously, they only have one entree that doesn’t contain fake meat and their only burgers are ‘steak’ burger and grilled ‘chicken’ sandwich. have they never heard of portobello mushrooms or black beans?

  2. Mexicant Says:

    There’s a rich tradition of decoy flesh in some Asian cuisines.

    This is a rich tradition of bullshit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: