Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fake Lent

My first couple of Lents I tried the "fake alternatives". Vegan mayo, black bean burgers, soy hot dogs, tofu rib eye steak. I decided to stop paying four times the price of the real thing for stuff that tasted like my 1950's elementary school paste and slightly flavored cardboard. I figured if I wanted a baloney sandwich that bad, I'd just eat cheap Kroger baloney and give the price difference to a homeless guy and go to confession. (No, phoney baloney didn't make me St. Sophrony, it just made me gag.)

So, because the government requires "Truth in Labeling" these are my Lenten warning labels for you newbies to fasting.


If you really HAVE to have a cheese fix?


19 comments:

Fr. Sean Lotz said...

Well, I confess to having been toying with the idea of trying some of the "cheese," just for kicks. My full-time vegan friend says it tastes great. But after your full disclosure, I'm much less likely to. Thanks, you have killed my adventuresome initiative.

Ingemar said...

I am learning, this Lent, that avoiding the proscribed foods is easy. All the other stuff that we're supposed to do (see: Sts. John Chrysostom, Basi)--that's a lot harder.

The Poor Blogger said...

I used to have a cheese allergy and had to have "alternative" cheeses as well as Isomil (which, I think, was derived from lead paint).

By the way, dog crap is 100% natural, too.

justjamey said...

I've served shredded faux cheese on shrimp tacos on a fast day before. I thought it was actually pretty good. And some of the faux chicken and faux ground beef can be good (not all of it). Of course, there is always the spirit vs. letter of the fast issue... I have a hard time with either, so following any of it is to be commended for me as an improvement.

Anonymous said...

All I need is a 'scratch & sniff' style monitor and I'd be all set to lick the screen...LOL!

margaret said...

As a vegetarian (sometimes voluntary borderline vegan) since I was a teen I can tell you that when vegans swear something tastes just like... cheese or liver pate or egg-mayo... it's because they haven't eaten the real thing for 30 years and they don't have a clue what it tastes like! :)

Matushka Anna said...

I've tried a few "fake" items (soy crumbles (i.e.-"ground beef"), Nayonaise, soy chicken) but the one thing I tried and immediately detested was any form of vegan "cheese".

There's nothing like the real thing, baby.

Scott Morizot said...

I don't follow the Orthodox fast and I'm not vegan. However, I have celiac disease and am dairy intolerant. Most of the time I just remove dairy from recipes, but there are some dishes like quesadillas, enchiladas, pizza, etc. (that we don't cook often) are kinda sad without any cheese. I've found that a relatively new cheese substitute, Daiya, is actually pretty decent. It enhances rather than detracts from certain dishes.

Of course, I'm not sure that finding decent substitutes for food from which you're trying to fast is exactly the point, but that's a different discussion. Even with my restricted diet, which isn't exactly a fast, per se, I tend to eliminate certain foods most of the time rather than find or cook substitutes for them. It's more a matter of adjusting to things that naturally fit within the restrictions. Bread is a notable exception, but that's mostly (for me) because sandwiches are among the easiest lunches to take to work. (And bread fills so many other niches in our dining lives.)

discourse said...

Our first Lent, we got veggie burgers. I liked them, but I've eaten them before when I went through vegetarian phases.

Then, I met a girl at our parish and her homemade black bean burgers. The store bought ones taste like cardboard now, and we don't buy them.

The fake cheese and cream cheese, as well as mayo, cracks me up. I agree, s-p, that it's too expensive to be the greatest idea during Lent...doesn't the replacement/expense go against the whole point of the Fast?

Soy protein is great in a spaghetti sauce or chili, though, and inexpensive if bought in bulk from a natural foods place.

Huw Raphael said...

I do love the fake meats out there. Cheese, however... I do without the fake cheese. That stuff is worse than your mamma making you eat liver.

Chrys said...

Fake cheese? Lousy.
Fake sin? An improvement on the "real thing," but still lousy.
(Of course, sometimes all you can do is take baby steps, just baby steps.)

(Call it the six degrees of Fakin' Bacon.)

James the Thickheaded said...

There's "acceptable" but not the old stuff. Substitutes that come from real stuff you might anyway... good. Substitutes that come from some chem lab and smell like a failed experiment... stay away. The good ones, I eat as part of the diet all the time. The bad... never.

Rice milk is working on my cereal jus' fine.

But I'm sort of looking forward to a good and gooey grilled cheese cooked in a boat load of butter... when the time comes.

Have discovered some spicey eggplant dips that are real good. And I thought I hated egg plant. Shows how quickly we switch to "desparate".

Oh BTW... I'm amused your site's giving me "TEDRATH" as my "word verification". The Wrath of the Ted... next it will be Lou, Mary Tyler Moore and all the rest.

Alexander The Mediocre said...

You should try burgers and sausages made from squid...they taste better than the "Real Thing"(C)...I'm not sure you can find them anywhere else than in Greece though.

Jack said...

I confess without any reservation that I use vegie burgers during the fast seasons.

Why? Because it gets me out of the kitchen in a hurry. Isn't that the whole point.

As far as the rest, I don't read fine print on labels. If it doesn't look like dairy or eggs, then it isn't.

The purpose of the fast is to get your mind off food. Why is it that so much Lenten small talk in the parish hall after Divine Liturgy turn to tasty Lenten recipes?

Jessie said...

I started out vegan (now just vegetarian for many reasons) and I think that the "substitutes" have gotten a lot better in the last five years. I think there is a place for that stuff.(again, baby steps) I did the same thing going vege/vegan. Now I make a lot of subs from scratch if it is needed in a recipe because it is a ton cheaper and studies are showing that some of the stuff they use to make the subs aren't all that healthy. (oh the irony)

Keith said...

Ha! Well done. It always amazes me how few actual vegetables you can consume and still be vegetarian/vegan.

Mr. Potato Head said...

Over the past year or so I've gradually transitioned to a vegan diet. I think grocery stores and restaurants have become much more vegetarian/vegan friendly over the past few decades; although they still have a long ways to go. Also, societal awareness of alternative, non-animal-product diets has increased. This is certainly a good thing if the welfare of sentient animals is a concern. My guiding principle is that of minimizing unnecessary death and suffering for sentient animals where pleasure, convenience and habit do not constitute necessity. Of course, this also means that the fasting seasons of Orthodoxy must contrast in more non-dietary ways.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it that so much Lenten small talk in the parish hall after Divine Liturgy turn to tasty Lenten recipes?"

Jack: you've hit on my pet peeve. I want everyone to Shut Up Already about their fasting and their Lenten recipes. It's boring. It's part of the Orthodoxy As Theme Park vibe. No matter how careful you are, you end up saying something that implicitly judges or offends someone else, or you feel judged or offended by what someone else says, or you just contribute to the newbies' confusion. It keeps the focus on the minutae and the means instead of the end. Honestly, I think I'd rather sit across the table from someone eating sausage at coffee hour in Lent than hear another conversation about lenten recipes or "how hard it is to fast." Sorry to be so grumpy. Me and Curmudgeophan, we go outside for smokes and Cheetos when the coffee hour talk turns to soy cheese (and I'll bet you're all glad to see us go!).

Still, I like your Orthographs about Lent, s-p. That's a whole different kettle of fish. I mean kettle of spineless seafood. heh.

Nicholas said...

Some of the tree nut cheeses like walnut "cheese" can be pretty good, but they are expensive and tedious to make.