Well, it finally happened. I was able to sink my teeth into the newest, and possibly most anticipated vegan food item in a long time. Beyond Meat has been releasing their new product, the Beyond Burger in limited Whole Foods stores across the country (yet to be found in the PNW, sadly).
But Veggie Grill worked out a special deal with Beyond Meat and have included it in their new Winter Menu. We made a bee line for the closest VG (downtown Portland) and raced in from the car.
First things first, the second I walked into the place it smelled different. Veggie Grill never really had a “smell” (Like Subway, Burger King, or Abercrombie). But now, they did. It literally smelled like a Burger King in there. I wasn’t, and am still not, sure it is a good thing.
While roaming our local New Seasons today, something caught me eye in the rainbow of colors in the Gardein freezer section. It seriously is starting to look like Rainbow Brite puked Skittles all over the place.
Anyway, the pink highlight color on the bag drew my eye and I snagged the last bag in the freezer.
The bag promises it contains a packet of awesome sauce. So with that, we planned on making it part of tonight’s dinner.
As with all of Gardein’s fake meats, these were simple to make. Simply toss the frozen bites into a skillet with some oil and cook thoroughly. Toss in the awesome sauce, and serve over a bed of whatever starchy goodness you want. We went with some sticky rice.
Let me start this off with me saying I was a meat eater.
I remember going to a wholesale club in Massachusetts, where there were ham steaks (big ones, too) on a sort of tape. They were vacuum sealed and perforated between each one. They came off a huge spool in a cardboard box. Once you had the quantity you wanted, you simply tore off the last one, and tossed them in your cart.
It was only later that I realized those pig slices were probably like some sort of cross-section of the same animal. At least for 4 or 5 of the steaks. It was actually really gross.
I bring this up, as it was probably my first epiphany about what I am actually eating. Growing up, we are told that meat is an important part of your diet, and that beef is “what’s for dinner.” Of course I didn’t stop eating meat because of that realization, but it was the first of many small moments that finally ended with me being vegan.
The meat and dairy industries spend immense budgets on establishing the “black box” approach to meat. Their labels have pastoral farm imagery, and catchy phrases like “Smithfield Farms” and even extensive rebranding efforts on the names of cuts. This is, of course a huge lie being fed to Americans. There is no “farm” in the animal industrial complex. The days of the local farmer, humanely raising and caring for livestock are sadly close to an end.