Sunday, November 9, 2008

Evolving From Imitation-Meat

Reading the the NY Times review of Candle 79 in New York City, somethings stuck out to Andy and I:
There are almost always some dishes defined in terms of meat, with the implicit assurance that they’re uncanny mimics of it... Candle 79, one of New York’s most ambitious vegan restaurants, takes a similar tack. On its menu there’s paella with smoked sausage and a piccata (à la veal or chicken) and, of course, a burger. There’s even ice cream for dessert. I’m here to tell you that all of that is a lie, or at least a consoling little fib; the sausage is made of wheat gluten, the burger of beans and brown rice, and the ice cream is entirely cream-less.

Vegans are constantly trying to impress their omnivore counterparts by showing omnivores how similar vegan food is to theirs. And that seems to be the downfall of veganism. It shouldn't aim to be like other foods, but to be delicious in its own rite. I think that is when vegan food truly begins to flourish. As Andy and I discussed, vegan imitations serve their purpose in the transition from eating meat to not eating meat, but the true culinary experiences come when we let go of meat and COW milk and embrace the food as is. [[one of my cook books made a compelling argument that there are many kinds of milk but cow milk seemed to take over the word milk-- and that actually there are many kinds, and they are all equally milk: almond milk, cow milk, rice milk, soy milk, etc.]]



Anonymous said...

I reckon it's OK to be inspired by meaty textures. I even ranted a bit about it in my first-ever blog post.

Unknown said...

Well then you run into the problem of always trying to impress meat-eaters. Whether or not it's "meaty" enough for them. And that's not what it's about.