Fake Meat Fails

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

It's hard to understand the reasoning behind fake meat.

Bear in mind that everyone is, and should be, free to eat what they like, with no interference from others. Think about it for a few moments, though. If you really don't like meat, that's fine, but why then would you go to the time and trouble of buying and eating something that tried to look and tastes like meat? If you think eating meat is immoral - it's not, but people may believe as they please - then the same question applies. 

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The real thing is available. Why go for the poor substitute?

Apparently, that thought is occurring to a lot of people just now

Here’s some news for foodie scolds who want to put our favorite meat dishes out to pasture: The “flight to plant-based foods” phenomenon hit the wall this summer, and there’s no end in sight to the downward spiral.

The meat-hating media wanted us to believe that bogus beef is driving out the real enchilada to improve our health and save forests from greenhouse-gas emissions.

But it’s all baloney.

Beyond Meat, which claims to be the No. 1 seller worldwide of plant-based meat substitutes, announced this week that it lost $53 million in the second quarter of 2023 as its US revenue fell 40 percent.

That's chuckle-inducing. In case you're wondering, here, from the Beyond Meat website, is a list of ingredients for one of their burger patties:

Water, pea protein*, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, dried yeast, cocoa butter, methylcellulose, and less than 1% of potato starch, salt, potassium chloride, beet juice color, apple extract, pomegranate concentrate, sunflower lecithin, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, vitamins and minerals (zinc sulfate, niacinamide [vitamin B3], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], cyanocobalamin [vitamin B12], calcium pantothenate).

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It reads like a chemistry experiment. Compare that to the list of ingredients in a regular burger patty: Beef. Take one (or two) of those, lay it on a bun, add some bacon, some barbecue sauce, some salt and pepper, onions, lettuce and tomato to taste, and you've got a real meal.

The whole "plant-based diet" thing seems to be predominantly (although not exclusively) something you find in folks to the left of the political center, but even in deep-blue New York City, folks want some good old animal proteins. That's encouraging to see. Maybe there is hope yet for the Empire State.

In New York City, steakhouses, not plant parlors, stand at the top of the restaurant food-chain. 

Any time a steakhouse closes, it’s immediately replaced by another steakhouse, not by a plant factory. For example, Rocco’s from Madison Avenue is taking over the former BLT Steak on East 57th Street.

Eleven Madison Park chef/owner Daniel Humm came to a “mutual” decision with the owners of the new 425 Park Avenue building to back out of opening an all-vegan eatery there. It will instead be a normal, albeit “health-conscious,” restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

"Health-conscious," of course, is perfectly compatible with eating meat. Enjoying a good burger, some steak fajitas or a pork chop every now and then won't automatically get you sent to fat camp.

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The foodie scolds aren't done with us yet, of course. Recently that famous group of dietary and nutrition experts, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) once again fired off a message to the world on the necessity of taxing meat, and they aren't the only ones to have an idea.

Not only is this a stupid idea – the very concept of a sin tax like this is utterly antithetical to a free society. That means if you want a steak or a cheeseburger, you get a steak or a cheeseburger, it's nobody's decision but yours, to be made free of coercion. The very concept of liberty – actual, honest individual liberty – requires that free citizens live free of coercion, whether the coercion comes from a street-corner thug or the government.

And let’s be honest, that’s what sin taxes are – coercion.  The government is using its power to initiate the use of force to change people’s behavior.  The only time government has the legitimate right to do that is to prevent one person from harming another physically or financially; to prevent the use of force or fraud by one citizen on another.

So ignore the scolds. Eat what you like. In fact here, in our Susitna Valley home, we have some real free-range stuff in the crock pot even as I write this, as there is a lovely moose roast simmering with some onions, potatoes and carrots. No fake meat here.

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To the scolds, I will just say this: See what it looks like when the shoe is on the other foot.


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