For a long time I have been aware of just how poor a trade-off it is to dedicate vast amounts of grain, water and land to raising beef cattle, increasingly scarce resources that could be used to grow crops for human consumption instead. I understand that producing a single pound of beef requires 20 pounds of grain, 9 gallons of water and approximately 10 acres of grazing land (in the Dakotas and Montana).
That being said, its only recently that I began researching constructive ways to downside my beef consumption. Yes, alternative protein sources have always been available: I eat a fair number of dishes that contain beans, but the thought of partaking of tofu makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
The advent of plant-based meatless products certainly caught my attention. Indeed, I’ve sampled a couple of them, only to find that they fall well short of approximating the texture and taste of “the real thing.” I ate these burgers with the same enthusiasm with which I faced a serving of creamed mixed vegetables when I was a kid. (Lord knows how many supper times I was the last one at the table, periodically reminded that I couldn’t leave it until the congealing mass on my plate was dealt with.)
Then along came Burger King’s “Impossible Burger.” The Consumer Reports article “Meat Gets a Makeover” (October 2019) is a good primer on the current state of the meatless burger market. A chart in the article compares ground burger, Amy’s Organic California Veggie Burger, Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger (recently re-badged Impossible Whopper). Such metrics as ingredients, calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber, protein, whether the product is non-GMO and can be classified as USDA Organic are delineated for each product. Then there’s a review of Beyond Burger, Impossible Burger, accompanied by a primer on Lab-Grown Meat and Genetically Modified Organisms. Whew!
The reviews of these products include an explanation of their ingredients; an answer to the question of whether they are healthier than beef and better for the environment; information on where they can be purchased; and an idea of what they cost.
A few days ago I threw culinary caution to the wind and sat down to an Impossible Whopper. I didn’t eat a “naked” patty: besides being clothed in a bun, it featured lettuce, tomato, mayo and ketchup. In other words, everything you’d expect to find in a meat-patty Whopper. And, being prepared on the same grill as its traditional sibling undoubtedly affected the Impossible Whopper’s taste.
The verdict? I was pleasantly surprised by the Impossible Whopper. Even taking into account the factors noted in the previous paragraph, the patty had the appearance, aroma, mouth-feel and taste of the moo-cow version.
Will meatless burgers save the world? Not by themselves. However, the longest journey starts with a single step. I only hope humankind won’t run out of time to take all the steps the planet needs us to take.
Have you sampled meatless products like those I describe here, or have you an opinion of the “meatless meat” concept? I’d be interested to know what you think. Thanks!
4 thoughts on “Impossible?”
Yep- have had them both and have been pleasantly surprised. While they aren’t especially healthier than beef, they are (or purport to be) more “sustainable”. They probably are.
Let’s see where it goes!!
One thing at a time, eh?
I saw their veggie burger advertised, but haven’t tried it yet. Maybe I’ll do that this week…if they’ll give it to me w/o the bun.
Perhaps they will acknowledge your request, Ms. Brown, although you’re still likely to pay full price!