The vegetarian and vegan lifestyle is becoming more and more apparent in this day and age and no matter the reason for going vegan or vegetarian, there is one thing that needs to be realized: Substitutes are not meant to replicate the “real thing”.
As I was eating in the dinning hall, I found myself falling into this trap as I chastised the veggie burger for not looking, smelling, or tasting like “real” burger. Was I justified?
Not at all.
With a greater variety of vegetarian and vegan foods available, I think that we’re starting to impose a stricter definition of “substitute” than what was intended. As a refresher, the definition of substitute is to take the place of someone or something else. This does NOT mean that veggie burgers will taste like regular meat burgers. This is a distinction we need to make and an expectation that we need to eliminate.
Burgers are made from animals so it is impossible to get that same texture and taste in a veggie burger because tofu, mushrooms, or whatever else is used don’t have the same physiological make up as animals, and they never will. We need to realize that a veggie burger is another TYPE of burger that you can choose from. The veggie burger tastes and appeals differently from a regular hamburger as would a chicken burger and or a bison burger, or anything else. You don’t expect a chicken to taste like a cow so why would you expect a plant to taste like a cow?
There are many reasons to go vegan or vegetarian, but I can say with confidence that its not because plants taste like cows.
Written by Linda Shackles, Class of 2017