Saturday, July 20, 2019

Fun On A Bun

There's no better sign that the vegan movement is gaining traction than that the state of Mississippi has just banned the use of "burger" or "hot dog" to describe plant-based products. Mississippi is afraid that if consumers get the idea there are attractive alternatives to ground-up cows, they might be moved to try one. One might wonder why the state of Mississippi cares about such things, but in fact Mississippi is very attuned to the needs of even its post-fetal cattle. Ha ha! Not really, just its cattle industry, not the cattle so much. And its cattle industry does not want anything cutting into its market share.

The ostensible reason for the ban is that it is too confusing for the consumer, who might assume a "vegan burger" is full of meat. And that may in fact be the case for Miss'ippi citizens, whose educational system is not, shall we say, well-done. A certain portion of the populace might be highly tempted to try a vegan burger, imagining that it is made out of shredded vegans, and about time, boy howdy. Because if there's one thing America can agree on, it's that vegans are annoying and should be culled, even if they're stringy and not well-marbled. They are annoying because they share a number of well-thought-out reasons to forgo meat and meat products, from humane considerations to the existential threat to the environment from factory farming and ranching, and mostly, we don't. We might if we thought about it a little, but there's bacon. And cheese.

Producers of plant-based burgers and dogs believe it is unreasonable to demand that they be required to market Nut 'N' Lentil Pucks, and how is it the slaughterhouses get to lay claim to the burger name anyway? "Burger" is just short for "Hamburger" which is short for "Hamburg steak" and didn't even initially include the bun, and the fair residents of Hamburg ("Hamburgers") might well be miffed about the association; and, as well, the citizens of Sandwich, England might prefer the bread item be named after the actual fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, who invented the thing. Add in the Swiss cheese and French fries and the fact that there's hardly a country that our president hasn't insulted by now, and you can see we could be in a pickle, as it were.

Because if people start getting all lawsuity about this whole thing, Mississippi ranchers might be forced to sell Mashed Moo Montagu instead of hamburgers.

A whole other threat to the cattle industry comes in the form of laboratory-produced meat, or actual muscle meat grown in a lab, cell by cell, which, if quality control can be trusted to remove random tusk growths and hoof eruptions, rivals dead meat in every respect. Most people find the entire idea of lab-grown meat repulsive in a way that bloody slabs of cruelly-raised, shot-up, and tortured livestock simply does not.

I'm not discounting that consumers can be confused by labeling. Who among us has not wondered who milks all the little almonds, or whether a beefsteak tomato needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145, or if soda pop is drained from someone's actual dad?

But the stated reason for the ban is belied by its own proponents, who say that the bill "protects farmers from having to compete with products not harvested from an animal." Because we certainly don't want that.

Well, it's not just me. Even the strictest vegan can recognize Bull when she sees it.

26 comments:

  1. I think that even Mississippians can determine that "burgers" can be made of things other than beef. I've seen salmon burgers, turkey burgers, and black bean burgers. The word "burger" denotes the shape, not the contents.

    What I find irritating is having something labeled "vegan" instead of telling one what it actually is composed of in bold print. Soy? Lentils? It's as if they were vaguely ashamed of their product and must list the ingredients in small print, while loudly touting "vegan". And don't get me started on "vegan leather." It's plastic, people. Call it that.

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    1. See? You're annoyed by vegans too. Well, I'm not sure of the status of that law in Mississippi now, but that was the ostensible reason for it: too confusing! I think using the word "vegan" to denote anything that does not use an animal product is just fine. And useful, if it's important to you.

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  2. I tried going vegan for several months. I was curious about the health claims (nah!), the weight loss claims (I gained), and how people cooked to obtain adequate protein (new retirees get a bit frantic at first with no obvious way to justify their existence). I decided to be purely plant-based and to avoid products that were flavored and textured to be mistaken for meat (cheating, and capitalism surely should have SOME boundaries). I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I learned some delicious recipes from blogs written by tattoo lovers (seems perverse, somehow, don’t it?j, but I spent all my time prepping, cooking, and eating. I nearly chopped myself to death. And, although I felt mildly superior to mere carnivores, turns out I was...annoying! Most of all to anyone who still troubled to invite me to dine.

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    1. I'm not vegan. But I have somehow gotten a real interest in vegetables in the last few years and many of the recipes in my rotation are meatless. Not usually cheeseless or butterless though. Also, I don't care one way or the other about beef now. So I mostly don't have any.

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    2. We have inherited a meat-based culture so it is not surprising that moving away from beef/pork/turkey/chicken requires a time investment. I too am not a vegan, but I do avoid meat based products.

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  3. This sounds like the kind of legislation that might be found in a Nanny State, not in Mississippi. I love going to California, where every building has a sign informing pregnant women that the interior air may not be completely pure and healthy.....

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    1. It's just more legislation written by the industry. Lobbyists write the bills and the lege passes them. There are some states with a much greater percentage of such laws and Mississippi is one of them.

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    2. Could be that in ol’ Mississippi, the lege’s just can’t write. If they could, they’d a gone off to liars school too!

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    3. Aw Bill, no need fer liar's school in yer deepest darkest Sowth. I gots me sum people there. Comes nachural like.

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    4. A few of my very favorite people are from Mississippi. But I think the averages really sink when they go visitin'.

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  4. Red tape. Bureaucracy. Whatever you want to call it - sometime my eyes are going to roll back so far they'll stick there.

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  5. Why can't they just call them patties? I don't know what else they could call the "hotdogs". And why do the vegans try so hard to make their patties look like meat, with added beetroot juice so the patty "bleeds" when cooked and bitten into. They even try to mimic the texture of ground beef. They can't be fooling anybody. Anyway, this "Hamburger", born in Hamburg, will stick with real meat.

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    1. Vegans seem to bring out the wurst in many people.

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    2. ...And don't get me started on "tofurkey." Holidays are quite disappointing enough without having to eat pretend food. If veganism is all that, why not just eat honest vegetables, beans, and grains, without disguising them to look like meat? You don't see carnivores trying to make their burger look like ratatouille.

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    3. I'm just going to pluck out "Holidays are quite disappointing enough without..." Really, fill in the blank!

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  6. My husband, one of ten children remembers getting hot dogs for dinner and all of them being told it was a high-end treat. "Tell your friends we all had steaks tonight!" Pop would roar. "Tube steaks!" They loved it.

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  7. Susan C BernsteinJuly 21, 2019 at 8:54 AM

    Well, there goes cattle rustling.

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  8. To expand: You can't call them hot dogs unless they are made of dogs. Same with hush puppies. And what about lady fingers? And pigs in a blanket are sausage in dough. Don't mislabel dough. And really, shouldn't hamburgers be required to be made of ham? Those issues alone should keep Mississippi lege's busy and out of trouble for a while. When they're done with those, I have more.

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    1. Wait till you hear what they have to say about fetal chickens.

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  9. I heard an interview with various vegetarians on NPR during a discussion about meat substitutes. First of all, yuck. One of the women said that she doesn't like meat, so why do meat substitute companies try to make their products taste like meat? Now that's a thought. I guess for us wanna-be vegetarians?

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    1. It's all good, I think. I've never been tempted to go for a veggie burger because I avoid wheat, so the bun is a problem. But I sure do like vegetables.

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  11. Trader Joe's has a couple of tasty veggie burgers, tasty because they are not meant to be a meat substitute. I heard the same interview mentioned by knittergran on NPR. The interview was between two meat eaters and was highly 'opinion based' with no opportunity for a balanced discussion. The tone was a bit condescending ... They repeat the mantra that these meat products are highly processed and can be more highly caloric. True, but meat (burgers, chicken bites) is also heavily processed and often requires placing animals in inhumane conditions, which the meat sophisticate chooses to ignore.

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