Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grain Meat Evolution!

There is an interesting article in the latest issue of VegNews Magazine called 'Faux Meat Revolution'. As many of you know by now, Field Roast does not use the term 'faux meat' to describe itself [which is why we were probably not mentioned in the article!;)] however a lot of people like to describe what we make as "fake meat", or "meat analogues" or "not-sausage". We know a lot of other brands, such as those described in the article, do like to label themselves that way, but we challenge that idea, and in a sense, create our own little revolution.

The article has quotes from vegans for and against "faux" meat. We can agree with both sides of the argument. For example, Laura Bohlcke of Carrollton, TX (who is on the"faux" meat side) says:

Faux meat is a great way to introduce carnivores to the vegetarian world in a non-threatening way.

On the other side of the debate Phyllis Jo Kubey of New York, NY says:

I would much sooner see people break the habit [of] meat-substitute consumption and free themselves to enjoy the many more interesting and healthful foods available in the fruit vegetable, grain, nut, and seed families.

We agree with both of these arguments, but we want people to not have to choose between something that is "real" and something that is "fake". By not labelling ourselves fake meat, and instead calling ourselves "grain meat", we at Field Roast are trying to reclaim a word, assosciation and lifestyle. We know that the very term itself [meat] is a highly charged one, and that's why we like to use it. We like to challenge the idea that our proteins can come from an animal source. If we to label our foods "fake" bacon, turkey, beef etc. then we are really just buying into the idea that we need to consume those animals in our diets in some form or another.

The VegNews article, written by Mark Hawthorne, traces the evolution of "faux-meat" from China, however insists on calling it all "meat-substitute". While it is true that Buddhists monks, for instance, were searching for a non-animal source of protein, if we look at classic definitions of the word 'meat' then we can see it is "solid food" (Merriam-Websters dictionary). Imagine if the world added meatiness to a meal from a non-animal source. Why label it an animal when it is not? Why assume animals need to be central to every meal when they don't have to be?We were admittedly a little sad that the article did not address the fact that a choice for real or fake does not have to be made. That there are products available which are delicious and tasty and do not try and make eating animals the agenda. The holidays are coming up and we know a delicious vegan centerpiece that allows grains, nuts, vegetables, and spices to take the stage. Full of protein, a favorite of carnivores, vegetarians, flexitarians and... well... people who love good food. From the compassionate findings of buddhist monks, to European bold flavors, how about a nice GRAIN meat to feed the food revolution?

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Blogger Mark Hawthorne said...


I actually included Field Roast in a lengthy sidebar for the VegNews article -- touting your "sausage" products and Celebration Roast -- but the sidebar was deleted during editing. I guess it was too lengthy.


1:24 PM  
Blogger Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

I saw that article and was really surprised too, that your products weren't mentioned.

Ironically I was just thinking about this whole "why does it have to be fake meat or not" issue today when I posted a comment about your products in a thread over at VeggieBoards..

9:54 PM  
Blogger FRavid said...

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3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely could not agree more. In fact, if you read everything I write (in my articles or in my cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking) or listen to my podcast, I am continually encouraging people to "take back the language" that the animal-based industries have usurped. I loathe the words "fake" and "faux" to refer to plant-based FOODS. All of my students, readers, and listeners know that you'll hear me say "plant-based milk" or "non-dairy milk" or "vegetarian meat." It's one of the reasons I love you guys so much - for your creations based on whole foods and for joining me in the language revolution. :) (Check out "Cow's Milk: A Substitute for Human Milk" in my blog or "Join the Rhetoric Revolution", which I wrote in 2006.) Keep up the great work! :)

9:16 AM  
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9:17 AM  
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10:25 AM  

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