Friday, January 29, 2010

Mock Meat is Muppet Murder

I was reading an article this morning about "mock meat"... And it made me think of my own single experience with vegetarian cuisine.

(On a side note -- why mock meat? If you are so morally opposed to the ingestion of tasty flesh, why would you purposely try to recreate the taste and texture of such an abomination? I think all the vegans eating tofurkey and lentil-loaf are kidding themselves. If they didn't crave meat, they wouldn't be trying to replicate it.)

Regardless... I once - ONCE - ate at a vegetarian restaurant. Back when I wanted to be a hippy.

I grew up in a pretty small town. I don't think they have a Starbucks to this day, if that gives you an idea how small. So as a much younger person, I was really excited to see a coffee shop/restaurant move into town. My best friend and I set out to have lunch, and to try our first samples of real espresso and cappuccino.

The place was a great change from what we were used to. Interesting decor, smell of coffee heavy in the air, the idea that we were so much cooler than the other inhabitants of our town and therefor singularly qualified to scope out the new cafe and pass judgement. Yes, we were ready!

And then the menu came, along with the smiling server. I didn't recognize a single dish. Everything was vegetarian, which is fine if you like vegetables. I've never passed beyond my inner five-year-old in that regard. (Think: "Eww! What's the green stuff? Get it away from my pork chop!) But we were so cool... Had to try something, right?

Rice dish. Sure, I can handle rice. How bad can that be? I order the rice. And an iced tea.

Server: We have green tea with honey, raspberry tea, chai tea...

Me: No, thanks. Just plain iced tea.

Server: Ummm... We have green tea with honey, rasp--

Me: Just bring me a green tea. No honey - I don't do bug barf. Got any sugar packets?

This should have been a sign. But when you're young and dumb and too cool for your own damn good, you wouldn't notice a sign if it's neon.

The food comes. Not bad, I guess. Not great, and I sure couldn't imagine trying to survive on it for my entire life, but passable. Until... wait... what the hell is this purple dimply stuff? It looks like chunks of Nerf with goosebumps. What the...?

Me: Excuse me. What's this purple stuff?

Server: Ummm. I'm not sure. Would you like me to ask?

Me: If you expect me to eat it, yes. I'd like it identified.

Server (returned from the kitchen): It's mock duck.

Me: But what is it?

Server: Mock duck.

Sigh. Heavy sigh. I'm trying to decide now if this person is slow... or messing with me.

Me: Well, we've established that it's not duck. So what is it?

Server: It's mock duck. It's probably a tofu product.

My friend: It's muppet. Just f*cking eat it.

Muppet seemed like the only reasonable explanation. No meat or vegetable that I know of is purple, dimply and the exact texture of Nerf.

And with that, I slid my plate away. I was finished not only with my serving of muppet, but with anything to do with vegetarianism or veganism. After all, anyone who eats muppet is someone I can't be involved with.

So... the next time (if ever) you read a post where I'm ranting and raving about the vegans and you get to wondering "What the hell is your problem anyway?", you have the answer.

I can get behind eating a cow, pig, whatever. But I draw the line at slaughtering and devouring sweet, innocent, entertaining muppets. Everyone has their limit - I guess muppet is mine.

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