I’m a vegetarian and I hate two things. First, all vegetables regardless of their respective abilities to sustain me (I didn’t get into this game to eat broccoli); and second, any “inventive new spin on comfort food” (great, now I have to pay $12 for “deconstructed frites”). That’s why, when my husband informed me that we’d be venturing to Cockscomb Restaurant in San Francisco to enjoy a $19 veggie burger, when he knew full well that we had perfectly good Morningstar sausage patties back home, I was less than excited.
“But this is special,” he insisted. “This is the Impossible Burger.”
I tuned him out for a second — because I’m not big on things with hyperbolic names, either — but eventually had to respect his enthusiasm. My husband is not a vegetarian, the man loves eating animal flesh. He would eat ribs and carnitas and all manner of organ meats every night for dinner if he could. So when he started talking about how “this burger bleeds,” and “limited quantities” and “eye-opening experiences that will bring us together as a couple,” I eventually relented. What can I say? I’m a giver.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Impossible Burger, it’s basically the most exciting thing to ever happen to meat-loving vegetarians. Instead of pre-packaged patties that turn into gray hockey pucks, or some chef’s proprietary blend of mashed chickpeas, quinoa, and shredded carrots, the Impossible burger is renowned specifically for its ability to mimic meat. It’s made with super simple ingredients — Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, and Potato Protein are the first things on the list — and contains a compound called “heme” which brings the burger closer to tasting like beef than anything before it.
From Impossible Foods’ FAQ:
Heme contributes to the characteristic color and taste of meat, and it catalyzes all the other flavors when meat is cooked. Heme is exceptionally abundant in animal muscle — and it’s a basic building block of life in all organisms, including plants. We discovered how to take heme from plants and produce it using fermentation — similar to the method that’s been used to make Belgian beer for nearly a thousand years. Adding heme to the Impossible Burger makes it a carnivore’s delight.
If that sounds too good to be true, there’s one more thing to consider: The burger, which has been in production for four years and has only become available recently, is also good for the environment. So even if it doesn’t taste exactly like a freshly slaughtered cow (although, the texture! The texture!), the compromise in taste could be mitigated by the fact that creating these burgers generates fewer greenhouse emissions and saves tons of water.