I’ve been eating vegetarian (and often vegan) for a decade now. I don’t talk about it much. This is a choice I’ve made for myself and my own reasons. What I never imagined happening is the growing popularity and wide availability of vegan/vegetarian food. It is simply remarkable.
Two major fast food chains — White Castle and Burger King — now serve The Impossible Burger, which honestly feels fucking impossible to believe. I never would have thought that would happen 10 years ago.
Even more unbelievable to me is the text message I received today from my (68-year-old) Dad.
“Just tried Burger King’s Impossible Burger which is soy based. It was great. Jess, you’d be proud.”
Holy shit. This is awesome. I knew the Impossible Whopper recently came out, but I never talked with him about it, nor encouraged him to try it. He sought this out this on his own. (It’s also cute that he told me “it’s soy based” like I didn’t know that already. 😂) Of course, I congratulated him and said I was proud. He followed up with: “It was really good and has a few less calories. If you didn’t know you were eating a soy burger, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”
Let that sink in. In 2019, you can go to middle America and eat vegan and like it. Making The Impossible an option is great, but I think making it familiar to folks like my Dad is why it will (hopefully) be successful.
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However, it presents an interesting moral dilemma. Fast food corporations (like all capitalist corporations) are the fucking enemy — especially when it comes to veganism. They profit from the commoditization of cheap meat and animal cruelty, and helped the commercial food industry lobby for “the food pyramid” that we now know was total bullshit. Meat production has a significant negative impact on the environment, and they don’t care. But now these companies are making vegan food accessible! And people like my Dad — who do not live in a place like the Bay Area where there is an abundance of vegan food, who have never been that interested in trying vegan food — are not only trying it, but liking it!
Life under capitalism is full of contradictions. Do I want to support Burger King and White Castle? Hell no. Do I want to support Impossible and the proliferation, popularity, and accessibility of good vegan alternatives to meat? Fuck yes. It’s an awkward position to be in and a strange phenomenon to witness. While it’s a bit uncomfortable to admit, I’ve had the Impossible burger at both places and it was damn good.