Considering the latest information on meat and health, we have been cutting down on our consumption of meat. Trying to eat a mostly plant-based diet hasn't been an easy transition. Since there now is a correlation between cancer and eating meat, and not just red meat, I am making a decent attempt, however. I am quickly entering the second half of my 50's, and with a family that seems to have cancer as a nasty companion, I'm looking for some alternatives to our beloved recipes.
My husband is a reluctant traveler along this road. He loves meat! All kinds - usually half raw. So this has been a bigger transition for him. We are not complete vegetarians. But we are working on eating less of it. Factory farming is the main reason, but also environmental factors that can no longer be ignored. We need to find alternatives.
Enter Quron. It is a company that makes very good vegetable-protein products - not soy products. It's main ingredient is "mycoprotein (“myco” is Greek for “fungi”). The mycoprotein comes from Fusarium venenatum, which was originally discovered growing in a field in Buckinghamshire, England. In the late 1960s, initial product development began, soon recognizing mycoprotein’s potential as an efficient and nutritious protein source." In other words, mushrooms.
The end result is some tasty products. I really don't care for the soy-based meatless products. We have tried several. (Sorry, but Tofurkey doesn't taste much like the real thing.)
My vegetarian daughter is visiting for Thanksgiving and I really want her to enjoy the meal. It will probably include turkey because other family members would feel cheated without it. (Although the vision of Sarah Paylin blithely yammering away while all those turkeys lost their heads behind her has ruined my taste for turkey. Permanently.)
I made tacos the other night with their "hamburger" crumbles, and after adding the taco seasoning you could not tell the difference between what was in the pan, and ground beef. My husband helped himself to only a tiny little spoonful for his first taco, but came back three times and filled the shell with the "meat" after that. If he likes it - believe me, it must taste very close to the real thing. I think the key is to add it to the end of a recipe, not at the beginning. It does better with less cooking.
If anyone has any tips or products that we should know about, please leave a comment. Good Cook did a great post on E-Coli and alternatives to factory-farmed animals. There are farmers out there that believe in raising animals in a humane way for consumption. Although when visiting the website for Heritage Foods I found choosing a chicken that still had it's feathers made it a little more difficult for someone used to seeing her chicken nicely packaged in the grocery store. Which makes a strong statement in itself. BTW - has anyone else been creeped out by that commercial that has the turkey carcase being chased through the grocery store?
We are doing our best to stay healthy, eat more plant-based foods, exercise, etc. But the bottom line - food has to taste good. Food preparation is very important to me, and I am not going to stop cooking great food now. Fortunately, some wonderful chefs are jumping on the veggie bandwagon and some really incredible food is the end result. It think it's finally catching on. We had a Reuben sandwich at Vita Cafe on Alberta while in Portland this week that rivaled any that I've had. You had your choice between "turkey" that they made in their restaurant, or tempeh. I chose their "turkey" and it was delicious.
What about you? Any dietary changes?