Meat Free

The only kind of meat I eat is fish. The last time I had any kind of meat I was 18, which means I’m closing in on 20 years of vegetarianism. I went for about nine years without eating fish, and then I added that back. Going veggie was an ethical, political, social AND health decision for me. From every angle, I’m pleased with my choice. Technically I’m a pescatarian, but that’s so pretentious. I do think about jettisoning fish again as well. We’ll see.

I’m not one of those vegetarians, though, who says she never was a big meat eater anyway. I was a champ consumer, and I liked it rare. Still, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Interestingly, for years I would crave meat when I was upset or hugely stressed. But that has passed now too.

Meat substitutes are an interesting question. In general, I’m not a fan of one food pretending to be another food. The worst offenders are banana- and cherry-flavored candies. A lot of meat substitutes are almost as gross. I wonder why I would eat that rather than just making up a nice pasta. But there are some exceptions. I’m inspired to write about them tonight because I just found another one I like okay.

Tofurkey is just a crazy name, hilarious. I’d never tried a Tofurkey product because, just give me a break. But the brilliant folks at Fairway put some Tofurkey-brand kielbasa right next to the saurkraut and reeled me right in. I love saurkraut, but it’s hard to work into a non-meat meal. So I just cooked it up and it wasn’t half bad. It would be better on a grill (I used the microwave) but I don’t have one of those. It would probably also be better in a skillet, but I’m lazy.

Probably my favorite sub is homely tvp, any brand. There’s nothing that sounds worse than texturized vegetable protien. But it’s got a good texture and is fantastically absorbent. I make a Greek chili with it that Damon absolutely loves. It’s, he says, better than the meaty version. And he’s right.

Most other fake meats are too mushy to be considered. The one exception is Morningstar products. I like their veggie dogs (hot dogs are all about the spices anyway), the fake ribs and the fake chicken nuggets. They’ve all got good bite to them, and are well seasoned.

I always hated Boca burgers, but Damon has come up with a way to fry them in the skillet that’s pretty good. If you can get them crispy at the edges it’s a whole new ballgame.

Interesting factoid: When I was a teenager I had debilitating environmental allergies. They were bad enough that I had to get steriod shots regularly and carry an inhaler. Even with those helpers, I was often locked shivering in a sealed room with the air conditioner blasting. Becoming a vegetarian was unrelated, but after a few months my allergies abated DRAMTICALLY. The steroids, inhaler and daily perscription meds went away. I still get itchy and sniffly when the seasons change (perhaps more on that in another post) but only like a normal person. Related? I can’t say. But if not, it’s an awfully big coincidence.

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80 responses to this post.

  1. I just can’t eat anything with “fur” as part of the name.

    Reply

  2. I just can’t eat anything with “fur” as part of the name.

    Reply

  3. I just can’t eat anything with “fur” as part of the name.

    Reply

  4. I just can’t eat anything with “fur” as part of the name.

    Reply

  5. I am a fanatical meat eater. I love meat. In fact, tomorrow, my husband is cooking a brisket, ribs and chicken all for a late birthday party for me.
    That said…Morningstar nuggets beat the snot out of any frozen nuggets in the case. My mother, who thinks vegetarianism is weird, unknowingly ate morningstar nuggets at my house and raved about them.

    Reply

  6. I am a fanatical meat eater. I love meat. In fact, tomorrow, my husband is cooking a brisket, ribs and chicken all for a late birthday party for me.
    That said…Morningstar nuggets beat the snot out of any frozen nuggets in the case. My mother, who thinks vegetarianism is weird, unknowingly ate morningstar nuggets at my house and raved about them.

    Reply

  7. I am a fanatical meat eater. I love meat. In fact, tomorrow, my husband is cooking a brisket, ribs and chicken all for a late birthday party for me.
    That said…Morningstar nuggets beat the snot out of any frozen nuggets in the case. My mother, who thinks vegetarianism is weird, unknowingly ate morningstar nuggets at my house and raved about them.

    Reply

  8. I am a fanatical meat eater. I love meat. In fact, tomorrow, my husband is cooking a brisket, ribs and chicken all for a late birthday party for me.
    That said…Morningstar nuggets beat the snot out of any frozen nuggets in the case. My mother, who thinks vegetarianism is weird, unknowingly ate morningstar nuggets at my house and raved about them.

    Reply

  9. That never occurred to me. But now that you mention it…

    Reply

  10. Happy birthday!
    I’m totally going to see if I can fool anyone with those nuggets.

    Reply

  11. I had an awesome, awesome, awesome recipe for vegetarian sloppy joes made with TVP, cut out of Vegetarian Times back in the early 90s. I could (okay, did) stand there and eat it out of the pot with the ladle. Toasty buns, spicy mustard, cold beer, perfect dinner.

    Reply

  12. I had an awesome, awesome, awesome recipe for vegetarian sloppy joes made with TVP, cut out of Vegetarian Times back in the early 90s. I could (okay, did) stand there and eat it out of the pot with the ladle. Toasty buns, spicy mustard, cold beer, perfect dinner.

    Reply

    • That sounds fantastic. I guess your use of past tense means you no longer have the recipe, which is a shame because I’d love to try it.

      Reply

      • most of my recipes and cookbooks were downstairs. I haven’t tried a hard-core search for it, though… I’ll give it a shot and let you know

      • I wouldn’t want you to go to any special effort. But if you were to run across it some day, bring it on. Thanks!

      • I e-mailed Vegetarian Times to ask, and just now I had an e-mail from “vtintern@aim.com” with this recipe:
        Here is our TVP sloppy joe recipe. Hope it’s the one you were looking for.
        INGREDIENTS:
        Vegetable cooking spray
        1/2 cup chopped onion
        1/2 cup chopped green, or red, bell pepper
        1 teaspoon minced garlic
        3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
        1/2 cup reduced-sodium catsup
        2/3 cup water
        2 tablespoons light brown sugar
        1 tablespoon prepared mustard
        1 teaspoon celery seeds
        1/2 teaspoon chili powder
        1/2 cup textured vegetable protein
        Salt and pepper, to taste
        4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
        8 sweet, or dill, pickle spears
        DIRECTIONS:
        (makes 4 servings)
        1. Spray medium saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until
        hot. Saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir
        in mushrooms, catsup, water, brown sugar, mustard, celery seeds, and chili
        powder; heat to boiling. Stir in vegetable protein; reduce heat and simmer,
        covered, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
        2. Spoon sandwich mixture into buns; serve with pickles.
        I think it might be it! I’m certainly going to try it and see if it tastes like I remember.

      • You rule! I’m so grateful. I will give it a try and report back. I’ve already got most of that stuff in the kitchen.

      • You rule! I’m so grateful. I will give it a try and report back. I’ve already got most of that stuff in the kitchen.

      • You rule! I’m so grateful. I will give it a try and report back. I’ve already got most of that stuff in the kitchen.

      • I e-mailed Vegetarian Times to ask, and just now I had an e-mail from “vtintern@aim.com” with this recipe:
        Here is our TVP sloppy joe recipe. Hope it’s the one you were looking for.
        INGREDIENTS:
        Vegetable cooking spray
        1/2 cup chopped onion
        1/2 cup chopped green, or red, bell pepper
        1 teaspoon minced garlic
        3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
        1/2 cup reduced-sodium catsup
        2/3 cup water
        2 tablespoons light brown sugar
        1 tablespoon prepared mustard
        1 teaspoon celery seeds
        1/2 teaspoon chili powder
        1/2 cup textured vegetable protein
        Salt and pepper, to taste
        4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
        8 sweet, or dill, pickle spears
        DIRECTIONS:
        (makes 4 servings)
        1. Spray medium saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until
        hot. Saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir
        in mushrooms, catsup, water, brown sugar, mustard, celery seeds, and chili
        powder; heat to boiling. Stir in vegetable protein; reduce heat and simmer,
        covered, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
        2. Spoon sandwich mixture into buns; serve with pickles.
        I think it might be it! I’m certainly going to try it and see if it tastes like I remember.

      • I e-mailed Vegetarian Times to ask, and just now I had an e-mail from “vtintern@aim.com” with this recipe:
        Here is our TVP sloppy joe recipe. Hope it’s the one you were looking for.
        INGREDIENTS:
        Vegetable cooking spray
        1/2 cup chopped onion
        1/2 cup chopped green, or red, bell pepper
        1 teaspoon minced garlic
        3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
        1/2 cup reduced-sodium catsup
        2/3 cup water
        2 tablespoons light brown sugar
        1 tablespoon prepared mustard
        1 teaspoon celery seeds
        1/2 teaspoon chili powder
        1/2 cup textured vegetable protein
        Salt and pepper, to taste
        4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
        8 sweet, or dill, pickle spears
        DIRECTIONS:
        (makes 4 servings)
        1. Spray medium saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until
        hot. Saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir
        in mushrooms, catsup, water, brown sugar, mustard, celery seeds, and chili
        powder; heat to boiling. Stir in vegetable protein; reduce heat and simmer,
        covered, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
        2. Spoon sandwich mixture into buns; serve with pickles.
        I think it might be it! I’m certainly going to try it and see if it tastes like I remember.

      • I wouldn’t want you to go to any special effort. But if you were to run across it some day, bring it on. Thanks!

      • I wouldn’t want you to go to any special effort. But if you were to run across it some day, bring it on. Thanks!

      • most of my recipes and cookbooks were downstairs. I haven’t tried a hard-core search for it, though… I’ll give it a shot and let you know

      • most of my recipes and cookbooks were downstairs. I haven’t tried a hard-core search for it, though… I’ll give it a shot and let you know

    • That sounds fantastic. I guess your use of past tense means you no longer have the recipe, which is a shame because I’d love to try it.

      Reply

    • That sounds fantastic. I guess your use of past tense means you no longer have the recipe, which is a shame because I’d love to try it.

      Reply

  13. I had an awesome, awesome, awesome recipe for vegetarian sloppy joes made with TVP, cut out of Vegetarian Times back in the early 90s. I could (okay, did) stand there and eat it out of the pot with the ladle. Toasty buns, spicy mustard, cold beer, perfect dinner.

    Reply

  14. I had an awesome, awesome, awesome recipe for vegetarian sloppy joes made with TVP, cut out of Vegetarian Times back in the early 90s. I could (okay, did) stand there and eat it out of the pot with the ladle. Toasty buns, spicy mustard, cold beer, perfect dinner.

    Reply

  15. I like to tell people I’m a lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian. It’s fun to say.
    You’re the first person I’ve ever met who doesn’t like Boca products. Boca’s spicy chicken patties are the bomb, and I’d put them up against real chicken any day of the week.

    Reply

  16. I like to tell people I’m a lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian. It’s fun to say.
    You’re the first person I’ve ever met who doesn’t like Boca products. Boca’s spicy chicken patties are the bomb, and I’d put them up against real chicken any day of the week.

    Reply

    • *raises hand*
      I’m another lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian! I loves me some shrimpies. I did it to support me eating more vegetables and because I live in an area of Atlanta (Decatur) that is devoted to healthy eating, so I’ve got plenty of meatless options and support for this way of eating.
      My favorite is QUORN. The Quorn log is the best turkey-substitute. It’s not so much the taste (which is nice when you put the normal turkey-like seasonings on it such as sage and rosemary) but it’s got a great texture. It’s a mycoprotein, made out of mushrooms, but you’d never know. Their chicken patties ROCK!

      Reply

      • I like Quorn too, but it tends to be more expensive than Boca or Morningstar.
        I wish the fake meats were displayed consistently from grocery store to grocery store. The Edgewood Kroger has begun hiding them from me. Every time I go in there, it seems they’re in a new place.

      • I like Quorn too, but it tends to be more expensive than Boca or Morningstar.
        I wish the fake meats were displayed consistently from grocery store to grocery store. The Edgewood Kroger has begun hiding them from me. Every time I go in there, it seems they’re in a new place.

      • I like Quorn too, but it tends to be more expensive than Boca or Morningstar.
        I wish the fake meats were displayed consistently from grocery store to grocery store. The Edgewood Kroger has begun hiding them from me. Every time I go in there, it seems they’re in a new place.

      • I’ve never tried Quorn. I wonder if it is sold in NY. I feel like I take a fairly close eye on the vegetarian aisle and I don’t think I’ve seen it.

      • Posted by Anonymous on October 8, 2006 at 4:28 am

        It’s odd…Quorn is usually placed with the regular frozen vegetables, not with the other frozen vegetarian foods.

      • sorry, that was me 🙂

      • sorry, that was me 🙂

      • sorry, that was me 🙂

      • Maybe that’s why I can’t find it. I’ll look next time I’m at Fairway.

      • Maybe that’s why I can’t find it. I’ll look next time I’m at Fairway.

      • Maybe that’s why I can’t find it. I’ll look next time I’m at Fairway.

      • Posted by Anonymous on October 8, 2006 at 4:28 am

        It’s odd…Quorn is usually placed with the regular frozen vegetables, not with the other frozen vegetarian foods.

      • Posted by Anonymous on October 8, 2006 at 4:28 am

        It’s odd…Quorn is usually placed with the regular frozen vegetables, not with the other frozen vegetarian foods.

      • I’ve never tried Quorn. I wonder if it is sold in NY. I feel like I take a fairly close eye on the vegetarian aisle and I don’t think I’ve seen it.

      • I’ve never tried Quorn. I wonder if it is sold in NY. I feel like I take a fairly close eye on the vegetarian aisle and I don’t think I’ve seen it.

    • *raises hand*
      I’m another lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian! I loves me some shrimpies. I did it to support me eating more vegetables and because I live in an area of Atlanta (Decatur) that is devoted to healthy eating, so I’ve got plenty of meatless options and support for this way of eating.
      My favorite is QUORN. The Quorn log is the best turkey-substitute. It’s not so much the taste (which is nice when you put the normal turkey-like seasonings on it such as sage and rosemary) but it’s got a great texture. It’s a mycoprotein, made out of mushrooms, but you’d never know. Their chicken patties ROCK!

      Reply

    • *raises hand*
      I’m another lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian! I loves me some shrimpies. I did it to support me eating more vegetables and because I live in an area of Atlanta (Decatur) that is devoted to healthy eating, so I’ve got plenty of meatless options and support for this way of eating.
      My favorite is QUORN. The Quorn log is the best turkey-substitute. It’s not so much the taste (which is nice when you put the normal turkey-like seasonings on it such as sage and rosemary) but it’s got a great texture. It’s a mycoprotein, made out of mushrooms, but you’d never know. Their chicken patties ROCK!

      Reply

    • Perhaps I will give the chicken patties a try. But mostly I find Boca products to have an unacceptable level of mushiness.

      Reply

    • Perhaps I will give the chicken patties a try. But mostly I find Boca products to have an unacceptable level of mushiness.

      Reply

    • Perhaps I will give the chicken patties a try. But mostly I find Boca products to have an unacceptable level of mushiness.

      Reply

  17. I like to tell people I’m a lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian. It’s fun to say.
    You’re the first person I’ve ever met who doesn’t like Boca products. Boca’s spicy chicken patties are the bomb, and I’d put them up against real chicken any day of the week.

    Reply

  18. I like to tell people I’m a lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian. It’s fun to say.
    You’re the first person I’ve ever met who doesn’t like Boca products. Boca’s spicy chicken patties are the bomb, and I’d put them up against real chicken any day of the week.

    Reply

  19. *raises hand*
    I’m another lacto-ovo-pesco-vegetarian! I loves me some shrimpies. I did it to support me eating more vegetables and because I live in an area of Atlanta (Decatur) that is devoted to healthy eating, so I’ve got plenty of meatless options and support for this way of eating.
    My favorite is QUORN. The Quorn log is the best turkey-substitute. It’s not so much the taste (which is nice when you put the normal turkey-like seasonings on it such as sage and rosemary) but it’s got a great texture. It’s a mycoprotein, made out of mushrooms, but you’d never know. Their chicken patties ROCK!

    Reply

  20. I like Quorn too, but it tends to be more expensive than Boca or Morningstar.
    I wish the fake meats were displayed consistently from grocery store to grocery store. The Edgewood Kroger has begun hiding them from me. Every time I go in there, it seems they’re in a new place.

    Reply

  21. That sounds fantastic. I guess your use of past tense means you no longer have the recipe, which is a shame because I’d love to try it.

    Reply

  22. Perhaps I will give the chicken patties a try. But mostly I find Boca products to have an unacceptable level of mushiness.

    Reply

  23. I’ve never tried Quorn. I wonder if it is sold in NY. I feel like I take a fairly close eye on the vegetarian aisle and I don’t think I’ve seen it.

    Reply

  24. Posted by Anonymous on October 8, 2006 at 4:28 am

    It’s odd…Quorn is usually placed with the regular frozen vegetables, not with the other frozen vegetarian foods.

    Reply

  25. sorry, that was me 🙂

    Reply

  26. most of my recipes and cookbooks were downstairs. I haven’t tried a hard-core search for it, though… I’ll give it a shot and let you know

    Reply

  27. Maybe that’s why I can’t find it. I’ll look next time I’m at Fairway.

    Reply

  28. I have no idea who you are, though I think I probably should since you are on many of my friends’ friends lists … anyhow, I have a friend whose doctor told him, long ago, to cut dairy from his diet. His environmental allergies went completely away when he did that. He later went lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and his allergies came right back. Now he is vegan and has no allergy problems.

    Reply

  29. I have no idea who you are, though I think I probably should since you are on many of my friends’ friends lists … anyhow, I have a friend whose doctor told him, long ago, to cut dairy from his diet. His environmental allergies went completely away when he did that. He later went lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and his allergies came right back. Now he is vegan and has no allergy problems.

    Reply

    • Oh lord, I don’t know if I could give up dairy. I’d have a hard time doing that for one day. I’ll bet I drink a gallon of milk a week. And cheese, I can eat goat cheese until the goat gives out.
      I’ve Friended you, so we can figure out who the heck we are to each other.

      Reply

    • Oh lord, I don’t know if I could give up dairy. I’d have a hard time doing that for one day. I’ll bet I drink a gallon of milk a week. And cheese, I can eat goat cheese until the goat gives out.
      I’ve Friended you, so we can figure out who the heck we are to each other.

      Reply

    • Oh lord, I don’t know if I could give up dairy. I’d have a hard time doing that for one day. I’ll bet I drink a gallon of milk a week. And cheese, I can eat goat cheese until the goat gives out.
      I’ve Friended you, so we can figure out who the heck we are to each other.

      Reply

  30. I have no idea who you are, though I think I probably should since you are on many of my friends’ friends lists … anyhow, I have a friend whose doctor told him, long ago, to cut dairy from his diet. His environmental allergies went completely away when he did that. He later went lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and his allergies came right back. Now he is vegan and has no allergy problems.

    Reply

  31. I have no idea who you are, though I think I probably should since you are on many of my friends’ friends lists … anyhow, I have a friend whose doctor told him, long ago, to cut dairy from his diet. His environmental allergies went completely away when he did that. He later went lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and his allergies came right back. Now he is vegan and has no allergy problems.

    Reply

  32. I wouldn’t want you to go to any special effort. But if you were to run across it some day, bring it on. Thanks!

    Reply

  33. Oh lord, I don’t know if I could give up dairy. I’d have a hard time doing that for one day. I’ll bet I drink a gallon of milk a week. And cheese, I can eat goat cheese until the goat gives out.
    I’ve Friended you, so we can figure out who the heck we are to each other.

    Reply

  34. I e-mailed Vegetarian Times to ask, and just now I had an e-mail from “vtintern@aim.com” with this recipe:
    Here is our TVP sloppy joe recipe. Hope it’s the one you were looking for.
    INGREDIENTS:
    Vegetable cooking spray
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped green, or red, bell pepper
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
    1/2 cup reduced-sodium catsup
    2/3 cup water
    2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    1 tablespoon prepared mustard
    1 teaspoon celery seeds
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1/2 cup textured vegetable protein
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
    8 sweet, or dill, pickle spears
    DIRECTIONS:
    (makes 4 servings)
    1. Spray medium saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until
    hot. Saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir
    in mushrooms, catsup, water, brown sugar, mustard, celery seeds, and chili
    powder; heat to boiling. Stir in vegetable protein; reduce heat and simmer,
    covered, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    2. Spoon sandwich mixture into buns; serve with pickles.
    I think it might be it! I’m certainly going to try it and see if it tastes like I remember.

    Reply

  35. You rule! I’m so grateful. I will give it a try and report back. I’ve already got most of that stuff in the kitchen.

    Reply

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