Friday, May 23, 2008
It looks like meat
We don't eat meat.
This is difficult for some people to understand, especially where we live. Many Nebraskans were raised on dinners of meat and potatoes. They grew up on farms and sometimes ate the family cow for dinner.
"What do you mean you don't eat meat?"
We get this a lot.
And that's fine; I generally offer a succinct answer about how there are actually plenty of other foods that don't involve animal flesh that we eat. We're certainly not lacking for nutrition or calories. And, to be clear, we're not judgmental about what others' eat. If you want to eat meat, that's your choice. Just like choosing not to is ours.
So anyway, I became a vegetarian about six months after marrying one. It was my own decision and one I reached one day when Dane said, "If you care about animals so much, how can you eat them?"
He was right, so I decided to try the whole vegetarian thing.
Five years later, it has stuck. (For the record, I did have a small amount of turkey three years ago when I was pregnant. I am not sure why I did this ... I'm blaming the growing baby).
So we've gotten used to eating beans in dishes that traditionally would require ground beef. In tacos, for example, we use either black, refried or pinto beans.
A few weeks ago, though, we were having friends -- carnivores -- over for dinner and I thought maybe we'd try the "Smart Ground" veggie ground beef. It's really all soy, but it sort of looks like hamburger. Dane, though, told me we could not try it with friends because we'd never prepared it before and you just can't try new things on guests.
OK. So it sat in our refrigerator until tonight when I took it out and cooked it.
Cooking it really only amounted to cutting open the vacuum-sealed package, plopping the soy crumbles into a frying pan, breaking them apart like I remember my mom doing to hamburger when she made tacos and then waiting for them to get hot.
It looked so much like meat it was gross.
Dane wouldn't even eat it, opting instead for a bit more adult version of Ramen noodles (Thai Soup, but it still comes in a package that you cut open and dump into boiling water).
I did eat it. And it was really good.
But still. It just didn't seem right. And I'm not sure if I'll buy it again.