Monday, May 23, 2016

The Thin Veneer of Civilization

You can literally choke on your
sense of moral superiority.
We should all be vegetarians. It's healthy, ecologically sound and ethically preferable to bolt-gunning living, feeling animals and then devouring them. On the other hand, veggie burgers are gross. Try as we might to imitate the taste of animals using vegetables, science or both, it's almost always a horror show. Veggie-based efforts are usually dry, tasteless patties of disappointment, while science has only succeeded in giving us schmeat, the cow you can eat while it watches you with its black, uncomprehending eyes.

But don't despair animal fans, Ethan Brown, founder of Beyond Meat may have finally solved the carnivore's dilemma: how to make a vegan hamburger that bleeds.
Pictured: Ethan Brown, founder of Beyond Meat set out
 to fulfill every vegetarian's dream of feeling the hot,
red blood of murdered animals running down their chins.  
Coincidentally, $5.99 was the price of
their short-lived wet asparagus beverage
and that went over pretty well, didn't it?
I think the phrase you're looking for is 'what the shit?' Yeah, the ridiculously named Beyond Burger, is mostly made out of pea protein and contains a mix of canola, coconut and sunflower oils colored with pulverized beets to simulate the vermillion dripping fat and blood that all meat-lovers crave and all vegetarians long for. They'll be test marketing the ground-up vegetable carcass at Whole Foods in Boulder, Colorado where a package of two, four-ounce patties will sell for $5.99. While that's like four times the price of ground beef anywhere else, keep in mind that this is Whole Foods we're talking about, and it's not like anyone's going to notice.

Huh...I wonder why they picked
Colorado to test market a new
vegan hamburg-ooohhhh....right.
Here's what an actual vegetarian had to say about the cruelty-free, yet cruelty-simulated bleeding veggie burger:

"[It] tasted and felt like any other burger, and on some level I just want to be able to eat the same way everybody else eats."

-Tom Rich, Whole Foods VP
of Purchasing, Distribution and
Sadness for the Colorado Region

Above: Replicators. We could, nay, should
be enjoying them now. C'mon science!
I think what he's talking about here is what marketing people would refer to unappetizingly as the mouth-feel of meat, and if Ethan Brown has managed to pull if off, that's super, I'm in. I'm kind of tired of feeling like an cold, unfeeling monster just because I take the odd trip to In N' Out. We live in the future, shouldn't there be convincing yet guilt free meat available to us by now? 3-D printers already exist, how much longer do we have to wait for our extruded protein paste?

Of course, these efforts to simulate meat right down to the hot, dripping blood that contains the life essence of our prey, do kind of serve as an unsettling reminder. It's as though despite the trappings of civilization, some primitive part of us just wants to gnaw and tear at the raw flesh of an animal with our teeth like the un-evolved savages we are.
Just add Twitter and pants and you've got us.

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