Week of February 11, 2019: Valentine’s Day Special: Châteaubriand, Beef Wellington, or Truffled Vol-au-Vent Marinière (Lobster); Pappardelle with Italian Sausage; Tuscan Shrimp & White Beans; Sweetbread Piccata (or Chicken)
| Impossible To Eat & Beyond Edible – Beetloaf and the rise of Fake Meat The biggest controversies surrounding the commercials during the Superbowl happened with a parody loosely based on the first part of Dante Alighieri’s epic Renaissance trilogy, The Inferno. In the commercial, actor Justin Bateman, dressed as bellboy, plays the Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro, or better known as Virgil, who was Dante’s guide throughout his journey representing reason and wisdom (or at least that is what wikipedia says about him….). The Bellhop takes his riders on a modern journey through the “9 Circles of Hell” to different fates – root canals, jury duty, “six-hour flight, middle seat,” and “The Talk”…..and then, a fate worse than that of Cain and Judas in the 9th Circle….the Vegan dinner party. The hostess excitedly shows the condemned the ultimate punishment…the forced mastication of “Beetloaf.” Undoubtedly, Beet farmers and “Meatgans”* alike were all terrified to be equated to other painful and excruciating circumstances. However, this narrative hits on one of the fastest areas of food entrepreneurism…..Fake Meat. |
*a “Meatgan” is a person that wants to eat Fake Meat. This is distinguishable from a Vegan who simply doesn’t want to eat animal products and is perfectly happy not turning vegetables into something they already don’t want to eat….which is meat…..
This food fad will go the way of the standing desk…..
Now, there is a high profile company that recently announced plans to go public, and there are several others planning to go public as well. These companies have raised hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars which are now being used on marketing. And, as we have seen in the past, the flood of marketing dollars inevitably leads to market adoption – just think of the ThighMaster, the “Bark Off” (one bark it’s ON; two barks its OFF!), and the Slap Chop – but once those marketing dollars go away the product’s market adoption proves unsustainable. So why go public with a ridiculous product? Simple….the so called sophisticated investors (Venture Capitalists) are taking their profits and transferring the risk to the masses (individual investor = dupe).
Okay, so what is Fake Meat. Fake Meat is made from plant proteins, typically either from peas or soybeans. Beet juice is used for color, as well as all kinds of other chemicals and stabilizers such as xanthan gum and vegetable “heme.” Heme, for example, is similar in structure to the hemoglobin in blood…..and allows the veggie burgers to “bleed”…..oh wow….or maybe even a…double wow.
The Fake Meat is fake, but the Maillard Reaction is not….So, Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is made up of protein and amino acids, and this is wear the Maillard Reaction comes in. So, while it does not taste exactly like a burger, many of the flavor compounds that are so appealing in regular cooking are recreated. As a primer, the Maillard Reaction was first described in 1912 by French nephrologist (that is a kidney doctor as those of us with mega ureters would know…) Dr. Louis Maillard who researched and wrote a paper on the interaction between proteins and sugars, which in the culinary world has become known as the Maillard Reaction. Referred to as the “The Browning Reaction,” the Maillard Reaction really should be called “The Flavor Reaction,” as the combination of amino acids (specific to the type of meat) and sugars – glucose, dextrose, ribose, etc. – creates compound flavor molecules that appear brown. This is why even though the proteins and amino acids come from plants, they can be manipulated into creating similar flavor compounds than actual meat.
Why is Fake Meat in the meat section? Well, due to the rising popularity of the products, the meatless Fake Meat meat products are now being displayed in meat cases. This is foolish for a serious reason….food safety. You probably don’t have to wonder long why meat and vegetables are not displayed together. Placing vegetable products and exposing them to all the nasty juices that emanate from the vacuum packaged meat is an unnecessary risk. And, we have actually witnessed displays where the fake meat is displayed below real meat, which is a huge no no….For our highly informative…and really funny…food safety discussion can be found HERE. If you want the short version on food safety…if everyone just washed their hands everything would be fine….
Don’t call Fake Meat Meat!! The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is having none of it….and has taken issue with Fake Meat companies calling their products meat. The group filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in February requesting official definitions for the terms “beef” and “meat.” There are several laws currently under consideration in several states to address the issue as well. Fake Meat Irony. “Whole” Foods was one of the first grocery chains to distribute Fake Meat…..wait, really? What else is better as a Fake?
Well, this whole Meatless Fake Meat meat movement got us thinking. Maybe they are onto something, so we thought about what else we could Fake to make it better….
Impossibly Beyond Water – We have long held the belief that the hydrogen atom in water was unnecessary. The elimination of the hydrogen will still allow oxygen to taste like water as long as it is negative 200 degrees and still in liquid form.
Impossibly Beyond Salt – It makes food taste so good…but the doctors say it is bad. The problem is not the sodium….it is that darn chloride that will not allow the sodium ion to exist by itself. Good news…we have combined beet juice with pea water and that has allowed us to create Sodium-Sodium…..the purest of salt…
Impossibly Beyond Air – There is too much nitrogen in the atmosphere! Why is there 78% of something we can’t even see or taste? We are proposing an atmosphere that is 100% oxygen. Imagine how great we will feel with fully profused red blood cells? Okay, the backyard BBQ and any open flame or combustion engine will be eliminated…but we have tesla….so no worries.
Impossibly Beyond Carbon Based Lifeforms – Let’s face it…the tetrahedral structure (the 5 pointed carbon) that is the building block of all life…is polluting the environment…Hello people – that is the “C” in CO2!! Going forward, we believed that a Celesium based life form…with its free radical induced life of 2 milliseconds…”poof”
Impossibly Beyond Fire – You plan on burning…what? Come on…that is nothing BUT pollution. Well, what about nuclear, which is clean, right?…just ask the French, the only country to export nuclear energy…oh wait, they are planning to shut down their nukes (imagine that…being 100% energy independent and choosing to make yourself dependent on other sovereign nations…)….okay, so, let’s ask Germany…wait, the Chancellor is the former head of the green party and doesn’t like Nukes either…she thinks making the country solely reliant on a gas pipeline (soon to be two pipelines) from Russia is the best idea….(note to self…Russia was not happy that the only pipeline to Europe was through Ukraine so built one along the North Sea floor and the Germans became a customer….and then invaded Ukraine after the pipeline was finished because nobody would retaliate….is global politics really this obvious?….okay, okay…back to Fake Meat….
Impossibly Beyond Feces – We are going to adopt the Alligator model of digestion….did you know the alligator consumes 80% of the food ingested, versus humans at around 20%? That is likely the reason they have survived in their second millenium (that was not millennia meaning thousand, but millennium meaning millions…)….genetically modified humangators….
Impossibly Beyond Stupidity – So, hopefully we have made our point. We have no problem with dietary restrictions. If you are a vegan…don’t eat animal products…fine. Vegitatiran…pesciatarian…whatever. But, what is the point of making a product that tastes like something it is not? Indian cuisine, and many other vegetarian cuisines, have all kinds of wonderfully tasty and sophisticated flavors that do not include animal proteins. So, eat that, rather than some Frankenburger that some Venture Capitalist has decided will solve both the worlds hunger and environmental problems….instead, maybe it should just be called,….Impossibly Beyond Bitcoin Meat…..