Midnight Pub

Plants in Cow's Clothing



The Uncanny Valley of Food

I bought a package of Impossible ground 'meat' at the store a bit ago, and decided to give it a try in hamburger form last night. It was...all right. The texture matched ground beef fairly well, while the flavor was odd and mushroomy. What kept sticking in my mind as I formed the patties, cooked and ate them was...why?

Why spend so much effort attempting to fake a thing you're trying to eat less of? Vegetables, grains and legumes exist in their own right, and their flavors and textures can be celebrated without trying to make them into a substitute for something else.

Attempting to mimic old lifeways with 'less-harmful' materials--while a creative exercise and occasionally laudable--seems to me to miss the point entirely.

And then I look at myself, unwilling to give up casual computing, just restricting and simplifying and setting artificial limits so that I can still have a screen to look at and live with myself, and I realize I cannot judge anyone who needs fake meat to get where they're going.

Eat well and happily, Pub-dwellers.


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~gerwitz wrote:

I’m glad these gateway meats are being developed to help us move past “protein comes from killing”. Even if their environmental benefit were negligible, this would have value.

But as a long-time vegetarian, I find them too realistic! I indeed prefer a simple black bean patty or some tempeh.

~coconut wrote:

It does seem kind of odd doesn't it? In an almost surreal sense, too. I can't help but think of 'Soylent Green' and other dystopian horror media. People were at one point scared of the future we're creating right now, and I wonder when it was exactly that people stopped being cautious.

The lesson is that too much of anything isn't good. Every problem we solve will introduce new problems (for example, the Green Revolution stopped billions from going hungry but now we have nitrification of soils). Sometimes we really gotta ask if the problem we're solving is worth the cost.

~inquiry wrote (thread):

In this moment, to this reader, it seems a special case of dissatisfaction with What Is in general.

I'm kind of hoping the excellent way you presented that madness "sticks", because I've long considered it silly to prefer a given experience to/over another.

For example, I can (and do..) agonize while my wife is far-too-wordily relating something I honestly don't need/want to know, that I should be doing/experiencing something "better", feeling badly for my"self" that said "self' is caught/trapped in some lesser experiential context... when doesn't fully accepting whatever happens solve that perpetually and forever?

~whooptydoo wrote:

I think when it comes to meat, computing and many other things, moderation is the way to go and is even better than abstinence. Yes it's much more difficult to do since it's hard to draw a line somewhere and you don't get the "victory" of quieting completely, but I think in a way moderation is a greater achievement, since you're able to indulge yourself a bit while restraining yourself. Plus I'm confident in that there's very much diminishing returns with abstaining from something, both in terms of the individual and the world as a whole. For example with meat. If everyone reduced their meat consumption to 1-2 serving a day, I bet it would be a massive benefit to the environment, however having everyone go vegetarian from there probably wouldn't lead to much more environmental benefit.

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