Sunday, February 21, 2010

SCIENCE

Okay, I admit as I do this vegan thing, part of me is kind of curious about folks who do this sort of thing as their real culinary gig for life. Some folks make the switch pretty painlessly, but others don't quite give up the life of an omnivore. Fear not, because SCIENCE has come to the rescue, promising vegan analogues for all sorts of things to keep otherwise sane people from thirsting for blood and their pound of flesh. Vegan, but want to eat meat? Well they got "meat". More specific, how about "sausage"? Got that, in all sorts of varieties. I bet you weren't expecting vegan bacon? Think again! Vegan cheese? Kazaam! Vegan ice cream? Kamehameha! All of these quick fixes, no doubt funded by DARPA and NASA to keep us from descending into our collective savage, hard-coded Lord of the Flies behavior. It sounds like an episode of True Blood or something, haha.

As I went out grocery shopping today, I got a weird bit of curiosity to come over me about these abominations of nature, and while my cart was otherwise loaded with nice wholesome ingredients, I had to stare into the abyss.


Went for the brass ring at first, and had some sausage. Okay, it's equal parts tofu and seitan from the package with "herbs" and a lot of SCIENCE in it. Fired up my skillet, rolled em around for a bit till they were equally crispy-brown on the outside. Divvied em up with my wife, and had em with mustard.

The inside's got a pretty compelling texture, but the outside gives it away. It forms almost like a bready crust on it, instead of a thinner, crispier outer cover you'd have with real sausage. Flavor is pretty much seitan, a ton of salt, fat, and italian herbs. It's alright enough, but you'd never for an instant think you were eating meat. These things were LOADED with salt. It's unreal. I haven't been this thirsty in a long time.


After that, time for dessert. Who likes ice cream? Who likes SCIENCE flavored ice cream! That's what this is, because I guarantee I don't know what "Vanilla Almond Bark" is, but if it tastes like SCIENCE they did a good job at recreating it. The ice cream was thin, bland, and had too many ice crystals in it. It finished with almost a gritty texture, like toothpaste. The carton said vanilla but I didn't taste any. The rabbit poop looking specks in there are I guess the "almond bark"? I don't know, there were bits of nuts coated by a bitter cocoa science alloy or something. It tasted not great.

Verdict:

The sausage was alright, if you are under no illusions that you're not eating a meat sub. If you're jonesing for some pig, then man, don't do it. Whatever you do, bring like two gallons of water because you're going to need it.

The ice cream is an abomination throughout. It's pure crap.

Findings:

It can be pretty hard to be a vegan it seems. As Americans, we're used to protein being the center of each of our three meals, and we're used to what we've grown up with. Folks wanting to make the moral switch to veganism, I can understand if you're not quite there culinarily. Myself, I'm kind of the opposite. I hold no allegiance to the moral ethos, but I think vegan food certainly has the capacity to be more honest about what it can offer than fake sausage or fake ice cream. There are fulfilling dishes out there that are honest, full of whole ingredients, and taste a lot better. To somebody who's ready to make their stand, but not quite ready to part without their tofu pork chop, I empathize. Maybe it's best to make the stand first, and develop an appetite for veganism's true bounty later. That said, I'd strongly suggest putting the bean pig aside for maybe some good hearty dhaal or ratatouille. You may just discover you like that way more.

3 comments:

Audra said...

Try soy based ice cream instead of tofu based. I eat the soy ice cream cause of my lactose intolerance and I think you'll find that its a LOT better

Anonymous said...

Haha; I was eying the tofutti for a long time now. Thanks for the warning.

Chuck said...

Audra, soy & tofu are pretty much interchangeable as far as bases are concerned. Maybe the one you had was just a better brand though.