Welcome to The Food Network’s new series, “YUCCK!”, the show that brings you up-to-date on all the horrible things people are eating these days.
This episode begins with fake meat!
I’m not talking about the kind of fake meat I reported on a few years ago. That was real meat (sort of) that was grown in a lab by Dutch scientists. It received rave reviews such as, “Definitely beef rather than a vegetable-based substitute.”
Now, however, I’d like to talk about the vegetable-based substitutes. According to Fortune magazine, sales of meatless meat are booming. Americans are enjoying products such as Beefless Beef Tips, Meatless Meatballs, “Veggie Buffalo Chik’n Bites” (fake two ways, since they’re neither buffalo nor chicken), Meatless Ham Slices, and Tofu Miso Burgers, to name but a disgusting few.
I remember, decades and decades ago, going to a Kosher dairy restaurant in New York and being awe-struck by the creativity that was displayed on the massive menu. While I found most of the items to be horrifying (Jelly blintzes? Buckwheats and stewed mushrooms? Potato noodles breaded with pot cheese?), I was fascinated by dishes like Protose steak, vegetable cutlets, and vegetarian chicken. I wasn’t fascinated enough to actually order those meals (I think I got the latkes), but I remember having the same question then that I have now:
Why bother to make fake meat?
Think about it: Whether you eschew meat for health reasons or ethical ones, why go through the trouble of forming eggplant, fennel, red wine, garlic and sweet peppers into a sausage shape? Just so you can eat it on a bun? Who are you trying to fool? Do you have fantasies about luring your carnivorous comrades to dinner and tricking them?
Why mold over two dozen ingredients* into a beef tip shape–just so you can eat it over noodles?
And here’s another important question: if you are Kosher, can you wash your meat down with a tall glass of cockroach milk?
While you marvel over that segue, I’ll tell you that the website Munchies reports that cockroach milk is the protein of the future, and you should begin right now trying to figure out how to mix in Hershey’s Syrup.
Apparently, in one breed of roach, Diploptera punctata (Latin for “Scrambling when the lights come on”), the females produce milk to feed their young just like mammals do, only without having male roaches not looking at their faces during conversations. (“Eyes up here, Max!”) Scientists have now sequenced the genes in this roach milk so they can potentially mass produce it without having to step on a bunch of bugs.
Soon you’ll be able to put roach milk in your coffee, which will go very well with your egg disks.
They’ll have to hurry with the Diploptera dairy, however, because Dunkin’ Donuts, current purveyor of fine egg disks, is about to start phasing them out.
According to TheStreet, and much to the delight of my wife, who thinks Dunkin’s breakfast sandwiches couldn’t be more nauseating even if they were breaded with pot cheese, Dunkin’ Donuts is getting ready to reformulate their eggs to go with the reformulated bagels they will soon be introducing.
You know you’re in trouble when national food chains start reformulating stuff. I mean, you have to wonder why an egg had to be formulated in the first place. Or why– and this is true–it needed 12 ingredients and had to be formed into “disks that can be easily heated and served on a breakfast sandwich.” It’s a friggin’ egg!
It kinda makes you want to run out and play egg frisbee, doesn’t it?
Finally, in an experiment that seems destined to become the plot of a sci-fi movie, a scientist in Canada has grown a human ear in an apple.
The scientist, Andrew Pelling, described his technique in a TED talk: “We took a totally innocent Macintosh apple, removed all the apple cells and DNA and then implanted human cells.”
First of all, Pelling’s work is in no way original. Hasbro did it over 50 years ago, but they used a potato. Second, how did Pelling know the apple was innocent? Sure, it probably wasn’t rotten to the core, but it might have had impure thoughts. And third–WTF! Why would you do something like that?
Pelling has the answer: “What I’m really curious about is if one day, it will be possible to repair, rebuild and augment our own bodies with stuff we make in the kitchen.”
Spoken by a guy who never had to eat my mother’s cooking. And I’ll tell you this: the folks who make those Tofu Miso burgers better stay the hell out of my kitchen.
See you soon.
*Gardein Meatless Beef Tips Ingredients: Water, vital wheat gluten, soy protein isolate, expeller pressed canola oil, onions, yeast extract, methylcellulose, malted barley extract, onion powder, garlic powder, organic ancient grain flour (KAMUT® khorasan wheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa), organic cane sugar, white distilled vinegar, potato starch, sea salt, natural flavor (from plant sources), pea protein, spices, carrot fiber, beetroot fiber. rub: dehydrated vegetables (red bell pepper, garlic, onion), spices, organic cane sugar, salt, paprika powder. Non genetically engineered soybeans, wheat, and canola.