Cell Based Meats, Veganism, Vegetarians And Other “Non-Traditional” Eating

A chef’s perspective on yet another division

Image courtesy of jill111

There are fewer people out there that I know that love and respect food like I do. I love to read all sorts of food-related articles. As a matter of fact, my house is full of foodie magazines and cookbooks. My book shelves are laden with recipe boxes, award-winning recipes clipped from newspapers of foods that sound and look TOO GOOD not to try, and stacks of heavy notebooks full of cooking ideas and culinary brain dumps.

Currently, I am writing a cookbook that, with hopes, will help people cook the foods they want to eat in a better way, therefore giving them the ability to enjoy their food while giving their ingredients the respect they deserve.

Image courtesy of Bru-nO

My pantry is full of home-canning with any number of colorful garden fodder that I have been lucky enough to grow myself. The last NON-FOOD related book I read was about becoming a better WRITER so that, you guessed it, my food-writing could improve. To say that I am obsessed about food, cooking, and learning about both is an understatement. Cooking is not only my career choice but it is also one of my many hobbies and undying passions. Honing my skills, enhancing my palette, and feeding others are some of the things that drive me.

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The only thing that can even come close to nudging my affectivity to cooking is, of course, eating. There are few things that I have not eaten and even fewer things I don’t like to eat, if I’m honest. When there is a chance for me to try something new, I am all over it!

I say all this to say this: why are there so many people that choose to focus on a specific diet to the point where they loath that and those that do not comply with their ideals? I can almost understand becoming a vegan or vegetarian for health or religious purposes. Having an aversion to nuts because of an allergy, sure. Those that decide to partake, at times, seem to look down at those that do not follow their dietary beliefs. The vegetarians that call meat-eaters out like their committing some sort of sin is a bit much. When I am eating a greasy cheeseburger, I don’t need to hear a vegan roll their eyes in disgust at me or say disrespectful comments. I would never even THINK of talking smack to anyone that doesn’t have the common decency to put a chicken out of its misery or save a cow from its agonizing life of cud-eating and methane production.

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While we are on the topic of diet choices, the people that I have never been able to understand are those that refuse to eat something on principle or because it may not LOOK like it tastes good. The “I don’t eat veggies” crowd or those that refuse to put an apple in their mouth for one reason or another. The unwillingness to at least TRY something that one has never tried before is like being unwilling to hug a baby because you fear it may cry. Or, being afraid to go outside because of the fear of the wind blowing. I just cannot understand.

The unwillingness to at least TRY something that one has never tried before is like being unwilling to hug a baby because you fear it may cry.

In my mind, half of the pleasures of being an entity with taste buds and a cognitive mind is broadening our palettes and discovering new and exciting foods. There is nothing like the excitement of pulling into an ethnic restaurant and trying a cuisine that has never been discovered. I mean, the first time I ate at a proper Indian restaurant, I had thought that my life had been a lie up until that point! That food and all the cool things I tried literally made me rethink how I look at food.

Don’t even get me started when it comes to the no mayo, mustard, ketchup or sauce people. Go ahead and eat that dry-ass sandwich, poor fella.

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We have to wonder if some of these food aversions are the result of sly marketing. Maybe the egg companies are putting subliminal messages in our minds about beef being bad for us and bad for the planet. Maybe the soy bean people have been planning to take over the world with Tofurkey all the while filling people’s heads with “pro-vegan-plant-based-only-diet” thoughts. Filling us with fear that that pork chop will kill you!? One may never know.

…the egg companies are putting subliminal messages in our minds about beef being bad for us and bad for the planet…

I recently read an article on the PETA website that discusses a “meat alternative” that is actually meat. I was intrigued, of course, so I dug in a little further. Apparently, this “meat” is actually meat but, instead of growing it on a farm, from a cow affectionately called Bessy, Dr. “so and so” is creating this nameless, soulless sustenance from a test tube. I still haven’t really figured out how I feel about that.

I wrote an article a while back that discussed how much food waste we produce in this country yet we have a hunger epidemic and there are millions of people that STILL go to bed hungry. Part of me wonders why these Brainiac’s are using algorithms and line-graphs to create my steak that has no soul instead of, maybe, combining their brain power to figure out a way to change our food-waste to hungry people ratio to a bit of a better statistic. But, I digress.

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The point is, we eat; it’s what we must do to survive. Ask enough questions to the right amount of people and you are bound to learn that, apparently, everything we put in our stomachs is bad for us. We should moderate how much food we eat yet increase the amount of water we should drink. Carbs are bad for you one week and your saving grace the next. I’ve lost count on how many times I was told how good/bad eggs are for me! Eh, I eat them anyway…fried in REAL butter, so what?

…we eat; it’s what we must do to survive.

This country is full of division; politics, sports teams, sexual preferences, Ford or Chevy, and much more. Can we all agree to leave food out of it? Can we all agree that, in order to live, we all must eat? Can we stop this divide and judgement when it comes to what we stuff our faces with? Just because I love bacon and you love tempeh doesn’t mean we can’t share the dinner table together. Food brings people together, at least it used to. I have eaten at a lot of diverse tables in different parts of this country and am yet to have a dispute over how delicious food tastes, especially when it’s made with love. Green beans, mashed potatoes, turkey and the gravy we pour all over it, made with love, gives the same warm-fuzzies as a bowl of salad or meatless sausage. It’s all about who you’re with and how it makes you feel. Let’s not get on each other about what we eat and just be grateful that we GET to.