Dare to Ask: Fake meat? No problem. Tastes like human
flesh? Um, well ...
By Phillip Milano
The Florida Times-Union
If vegetarians think humans and animals deserve the same rights (at least to
not be eaten), then shouldn't they also be against fake meat (soy burgers,
etc.)? After all, if someone made fake meat that tasted like human flesh, we
would ban it.
Lou, Hamilton, Canada
Fake meat is not a problem because I know it's not real animal flesh. --
A lot of us refrain from meat because of the health benefits. I grew up in a
ranching community and don't eat meat because I know what goes into modern
production. I don't believe animals should have the same rights and have never
met anyone who does. And I live in California, land of vegan whack jobs. --
D.L., female, Los Angeles
I'm not an animal rights believer, but I wonder why people try to make
vegetarian foods look and taste like meat. As for making fake meat that tasted
like human flesh, I'd have questions for anyone who bit into any food and said,
"You know, this tastes like human flesh." -- J.S., 61, male, Connecticut
Now hold on there, cowpokes, what about Hufu, that tofu-like food product
that tried to mimic human flesh in taste and texture? OK, so it was a spoof a
few years back, and its Web site is now defunct, but Dartmouth business student
Mark Nuckols had fun pulling the media's legs with it for a while.
Nuckols even told The Harvard Crimson he was developing future products like
"Delicious Baby Seal" and "Endangered Panda." The highlight may have been his
interview on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," when he deadpanned to
interviewer Samantha Bee: "For most of our customers, this is really an
opportunity to experience the very fascinating, compelling practice of
cannibalism." Bee replied humorously: "Just think of the societal benefits:
Cannibalism will end hunger, solve the population problem and eradicate obesity.
So watch your back, fatties!"
For those who want meat-tasting fake meat, there are "analogues" -- faux
meats -- soy-, gluten- or vegetable protein-based products, according to
Danielle Kichler, member of the Vegetarian Society of DC in Washington.
"A lot of us grew up eating meat, and many went veggie for the ethics," she
said. "But we like the taste and texture of meat. They're easy. You heat one up
with potatoes and veggies, and it's dinner."
For others, it lets them get used to vegetarianism, trying it out while using
food items that give them a sensation similar to meat dishes.
"It's not the taste or texture of meat we're opposed to, it's the inherent
cruelty and waste with meat-eating," Kichler said. "If people eat the analogues
instead of animal products, not only is it more environmentally-friendly, it's
But c'mon, how do people down some of those things?
For Kichler, certain ones are tasty enough, like seitan (wheat gluten)
cutlets -- a kind of char-grilled flank steak. But, "I've tried a few of the
garden products, some a mixture of soy and peas, and ... they don't work for
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Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
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