Things That Don’t Exist: Intolerant Omnivore Edition

I absolutely hate the grocery store. Even if I didn’t know that it was a haven for price-gouging leprechauns and “organic factory farmers,” I’d still hate it – because I was a Lit major, and the supermarket is a bastion for bastardization of language and meaning. Case in point: “Plastic Silverware.” No. This is the oxymoronic equivalent of “authentic reproduction” or “Valley Heights.”

I mean, this is food. It’s not fiction. Or is it?

I contend that beef is not beef if it's not beef.

I embrace what I eat, whether meat or vegetable. There’s a fundamental disconnect when you have to turn your food into (edit: when a edible-product company endeavors to market) some fantasy about what your innate intelligence clearly wishes you’d eat. I don’t see any Real Food folks running around calling their medium-rare steaks “Veg-un.” Ground up textured vegetable protein does not ground beef make.

This is a problem for me.

I contend that grain is grain. It can be eaten by “meat” (though that’s certainly not ideal); it can claim it’s dating “meat” (even if they just hooked up at a New Years party in ’09); it can even don a meat suit a-la Lady Gaga. But it’s still going to be a Trend-savvy Media Floozy bunch of empty, nutrient-poor calories.

For more Fun at the Greengrocer, click here.

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11 Comments to “Things That Don’t Exist: Intolerant Omnivore Edition”

  1. I am not so bothered by the “meatless meat” food products by virtue of the fantasy factory. My girlfriend has been a vegetarian for many years for ethical reasons. (However, she has recently started to incorporate some meat into her diet as she is comfortable with farms that are animal welfare approved.) She has always loved meat and being able to enjoy a burrito with meat flavors and that takes a shot at meat texture is comforting to her. It’s not about being unable to embrace who she is and how her diet reflects that. In fact, I think it says just the opposite.

    • I think you’re right about the “being unable to embrace who she is” part. (although I think some individuals are, in fact, denying their true selves as a consequence of veg*ism – but that’s certainly an individual issue and not one that can be applied across an entire demo.) I’ve edited the post a bit to reflect that.

  2. How is this healthy? I have relatives and friends who are vegan. I don’t hold it against them. But still…. ick.

  3. This is awesome! I fully agree!

  4. I read a book one time (1984, not sure if you ever heard of it 😉 ) and the term there was “doublespeak”. By calling it vegetarian an beef at the same time, marketing departmemts in companies have found the perfect loophole to the human instinct: giving the masses what they want while allowing them to be “guilt” free of whatever their guilt is.

    I like how it says: “VEGETARIAN ground beef WITH VEGGIES”… Huh?

  5. I think the term vegetarian beef is ok, it’s just in the wrong context on that package. My beef was vegetarian before it got cut into steaks. Maybe they just meant to say the cow lived on zucchinni before it became a burrito?

  6. Why call it vegetarian beef? Why not just call it what it is, beef-flavored vegetables? If what you are wanting is the flavor of beef on your vegetables, great. It’s calling it “beef” that is so weird.

    If you saw something called “chicken orange” wouldn’t that strike you as odd? But “orange-flavored chicken” is quite the delicacy.

  7. Thank you, I needed a laugh this afternoon. Grocery stores are crazy on so many levels, absurd food packaging and naming in an entertaining one.

  8. I guess Beef flavored textured vegetable protein doesn’t sound as appetizing. It’s probably a b!tch to fit it all on the label too.

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