The very name conjures visions of anemic 1970s-era vegetarians choking down dry chunks of gluten as they contemplated the ascetic virtues of the complete protein. But wheatloaf (really). Did anyone ever ask how it differed from bread? It was joined at the small planet table by piles of gluten formed to ape the appearance of whole roasted chickens, canned spinach and vegetarian steaks.
Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are vegetarians, and I'd even admire some of them for their lifestyle — if only so many of their food choices weren't so pitiful. Really, why is it that, when offered a bounty of root vegetables, leafy greens, fruits and nuts, so many vegetarians make the slovenly choice of some imitation-meat vegetable product?
It reminds me of an old roommate of mine. He was Jewish (the son of a rabbi, in fact) and a vegetarian to boot. His favorite snack? Vegetarian bacon. Talk about your self-defeating diet. I couldn't help but be reminded of horrors of the vegetable mind when, the other day, I reached into the cupboard only to find a stick of Primal Spirit Foods Primal Strips Soy Texas BBQ Meatless Jerky.
Like my friend's kosher vegetarian bacon, this is a product whose very existence seems to deny its necessity. That is to say, if you're really that beholden to beef jerky, why deny yourself by being a vegetarian? Conversely, if you're really committed to being a vegetarian, why fill your stomach with ersatz meat? By that measure, Primal Strips seems like a food without a market. Then again, after sampling the leather-like strip of non-GMO soy protein, I can't say that it was unpleasant.
Like jerky, it was sinewy and tough. Sure, it was doused in something that can only be described as Texas BBQ. And, sure, the Texas BBQ completely overwhelmed what little native flavor is carried in a strip of non-GMO soy protein, but overall it was quite tasty. The thing was nothing like those flaccid loaves of tofu. It was chewy and put up a good fight.
All of which made me wonder: Isn't it time I put in for bit of wheatloaf?
Seen a foodstuff you're too timid to try? Malcolm will eat it! E-mail particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.