It’s been a rough few days in Vegan Land. Unless you are living under a rock, you have already heard about the VegNews scandal. Ad nauseam.
So, VegNews lied. So, VegNews took the easiest and most cost-effective path available to them, despite the fact that it was outright deceit. They used stock photos of burgers, ribs, stews, etc. to represent vegan meals in their vegan magazine. And, to add insult to injury, VegNews handled their PR nightmare very poorly. But, I’m over it. Really.
What I am not over, however, is the fallout in the vegan community. Call me naïve, but I have never witnessed so much hateful dialogue on vegan blogs and Facebook pages before. And this is among vegans! So, VegNews betrays our trust and our vegan ideals and, in response, we turn on each other?!
To make matters worse, the story was picked up by news syndicates such as CNN, The New York Times, and NPR. The comments on those websites are not kind to vegans, or veganism, either. The air of smug self-satisfaction is palpable: of course the magazine used meat photos . . . because vegan food isn’t appealing or satisfying! To my thinking, that perception is the real tragedy of this unfortunate situation. And that perception could not be more wrong.
Of course, the general sentiment (as well as a lot of jokes at the collective vegan expense) is that malnourished vegans are deprived and frustrated wanna-be-meat-eaters. That is, we are deprived and frustrated by our inability to duplicate the taste of meat for our sanctimonious and holier-than-though enjoyment. Heh?! Say what?!
I choose to respond thusly:
Okay, I will concede that one (ignorant) point. I haven’t been able to “duplicate” the taste of meat. What’s more, I do not want to! It is true, my Portobello mushroom burger does not taste anything like dead cow. It tastes better! Deprived? No. Frustrated? No. Satisfied? Oh, yes! [And about 1/3 of my total daily protein requirement, too (according to NutritionData.com).]
To enjoy this better-than-beef “burger”: caramelize sliced red onion in olive oil over medium heat and add a generous splash of balsamic vinegar toward the end of the cooking time. In a separate skillet, gently cook the Portobello mushrooms over medium heat and brush them frequently with good quality balsamic vinegar. When the mushrooms are tender, place the mushrooms and onions on prepared buns with a slice of non-dairy cheese and condiments/burger fixings of your choice.
We enjoy our Portobello burgers on homemade bread machine buns* with the caramelized onions, Vegenaise, romaine lettuce and pepper jack cheese from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. And a serving of sweet and tangy sandwich slaw on the side. And J’s “kickass” homebrew in the background.
* Note: I made the buns whole wheat by substituting the total flour amount in the original bun recipe with 2-3/4 cups + 1 Tablespoon white whole wheat flour + 3 Tablespoons soy flour. I also added in 2 extra tablespoons of warm water to adjust for the high altitude.
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If you’re feeling like I am (disillusioned and worn out from the VegNews fallout and negativity), I offer you some diversion therapy: squirrel antics on the other side of the dining room window!
As you can see, there ain’t no deprivation in this vegan house!
Although, the frustrated cats may beg to differ.