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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Meatless or With Meat..My Dilemma!!

Written by Elizabeth Chute

Remember the energy flow diagram we learned in middle school biology? About how plants turn the sun’s energy into nutrients through photosynthesis, then when they get eaten, only 10 percent of that energy gets passed on, then when that animal gets eaten only 10 percent of that energy gets passed on, but since it’s only 10 percent of the original 10 percent, its really only 1 percent of the original nutrients. Moral of the story: shouldn’t we always be eating vegetables? Well, that I’m not sure about, we do need the protein, but there are other ways to get it, like beans lentils and tofu. The official government food pyramid recommends to eat more fish beans peas nuts and seeds, and when eating meat to eat more lean meats and protein. So we all do know that red meat is not very healthy, but what about the taste? It is delicious. There is always fake meat, but does it really taste like the real thing? I went to find out.
First thing I discovered: for my tastebuds... nothing will taste like a hamburger that isn’t a hamburger. It doesn’t matter how many boca or veggie burgers I eat, or what I put on them. For my palate nothing replaces the taste of biting into a slightly red, juicy burger. So, sorry heart, but you’re just going to have to deal with that bit of red meat. Meatballs however are a little more replaceable. Gimme Lean beef comes in a tube, and while perhaps looking unappealing can be cooked so that they taste just like meatballs, especially when smothered in sauce and cheese. I cooked dinner for a friend the other night, giving him fake meatballs, and telling him they were real. He couldn’t even tell the difference.
When eating saucy dishes, I have some to find that tofu is better than other meat options. If you have a good sauce, tofu does the best job absorbing it, and with no other competing flavors, because tofu is the blandest thing on the planet, you get pure curry or teriyaki or whatever you decide to put on it.
Ok, but what about sausage? Who doesn’t love their morning sausage? Well I’ve found the solution. Veggie patch sausages are quite delicious. They even come in flavors, my favorite: jalapeño cheddar. The trick to making these sausages taste just right is slicing them up and cooking them in some olive oil. Although the texture of meat cannot be mimicked, you can find something that tastes just as good as red meat, and maybe a little better on the arteries.

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