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Ugly food

Meatless Meat Does anybody understand the point of meatless meat? Who is the target consumer? I’m a carnivore, and I don’t want to eat it. I don’t think it would appeal to vegetarians either. So who is it for? People who have given up meat for Lent? People whose spouses are forcing them to be vegetarians against their will? Who??

Ugly foodHere’s a marketing tip. If you have a restaurant which serves ugly food, do not take a harshly lit photograph of the ugly food, enlarge it, turn it into a giant poster and hang it in the window of your restaurant. Please.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that getting all artsy-crafty with your ugly food will make it look more appealing. It won’t.
Artsy crafty ugly food

Seagull eating vomit Speaking of ugly food, I think this seagull was auditioning for Fear Factor when he ate the human vomit off Preston Street.





26 comments to Ugly food

  • I believe the target consumer is vegetarians who cannot cook and cannot yet imagine meals with meat.

  • Jo

    I like some fake meat occasionally. It’s a bit of a novelty and can be interesting to cook with when my enthusiasm for plain tofu and legumes is flagging. However, I would never make it a regular part of my diet because it is over-processed and over-priced.

    I agree with you about the ugly food. The worst is the ad for Tim Horton’s strawberry tarts. On the billboards they look like pastry shells full of bright red slugs.



    One of the things I think the meatless meat is for is vegans or vegetarians who need a decent protein source to round out their diets.

  • The vomit-eating gull is priceless, Zoom!

  • I think I’d rather join the seagull for dinner than eat the meatless meat

  • I like meatless meat if it tastes good. Cause I don’t eat meat, but I like meat ergo – meatless meat.

  • Aggie, that’s why I carry a camera all the time. Because you never know when you’re going to see a seagull eating vomit.

    I’m shocked that some of you non-meat-eaters eat meatless meat. I thought you all found the whole concept of meat kind of disgusting. No?

  • KatieC

    not everyone who chooses not to eat meat chooses so because of the taste

  • Melinda

    Ewwwww to the bird. Just ewww. You’d think I’d be used to stuff like that with my dogs, but all the same, ewwww.

    I think the restaurant owners have garnered that particular art from small European food stands. They tend to have the same types of pictures.

    I rather thought the meatless meat thing was aimed at vegetarians and people who don’t want to eat meat because they’ve been told it is bad for you in several hundred ways. The meatless meat offers them a “healthy” alternative. Frankly, if you wait long enough, they will start telling us that meatless meat is actually worse for you than meat is and that meat really is a lot healthier than they originally thought. Butter or eggs anyone?

  • EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Human vomit is really ugly food.

    Bee vomit on the other hand…

    I think meatless meat is for vegetarians who are fairly new on their vegetarian journey and miss the texture of meat, or don’t yet understand how to get plant based proteins into their diet properly. Its sort of a stepping stone between the standard american diet and a healthier diet. The thing is, it isn’t good for you – all that soy is GMO hormone precurssor garbage – its the ultimate in junk food. OR its gluten – brain fogging sticky gluten (shudder)

    I’d rather my kids ate a bag of stuff from Sugar Mountain than fake meats, the effects are out of their system much faster.

    I’ve been reading In Defense of Food by proxy (lurking on a book club discussion without having had a chance to read it yet myself) and its so sane – eat real food – stuff your great grandmother would recognize, eat less – what you need – and eat mainly plants. You’d think that would be simple right?

  • Bird eating vomit: eeew!! is right.

  • XUP

    What does meat, in its off-the-hoof state taste like? It’s only palatable after being smoked, spiced, sauced, roasted, grilled, etc. Meatless meat is the same except that it has a base of vegetable protein instead of dead animals. Vegetarians aren’t all vegetarians for the same reasons. Some won’t eat anything that even reminds them of meat, some might enjoy the flavor and texture of bacon, but believe that killing a fellow creature for such a self-indulgent reason is unconscionable, so they eat meatless bacon. Also, not all meatless meat is the same. Some is processed crap, some is quite good and healthy. The item in your photo is of the former variety. An ingredient list as long as a femur formed into gigantic chunks of mock meatless meat.

  • Teiresias

    One species’ vomit (or excrement) is another’s food, especially when belonging to different Classes… Which is why one should anthropomorphise with caution.

  • XUP, can you give an example of a healthy meatless meat?

    I don’t count things like lentil burgers – they really don’t mimic meat

    I don’t care if the soy is organic or not, if you eat a serving to replace meat – size of a deck of cards) you are eating an unhealthy portion of soy. We north americans took a good thing that asians eat in moderation (miso soup sized servings) and made it a mock food.

    Anyone with thyroid issues should avoid soy too, it knocks down your hormone levels.

    Gluten is verboten in our house too.
    The more I learn the more soy avoidant I become (and I used to love certain soy “meat” products for my kids. You know its nice to be able to give your kids a nitrate free hotdog once in awhile.

  • XUP

    Mudmama – Yes, there’s a lot of controversy around soy and not everyone can tolerate wheat protein products, but there as many, if not more issues with animal products. Many experts also question the anti-soy evidence and claim the research is driven by factions with agendas of their own (e.g. Dairy Boards)

    You’re absolutely right what you say in your first paragraph, but I don’t think there are many vegetarians (I could be wrong) who eat meatless meat products on a daily basis and if they do, wouldn’t eat it in portions equal to a deck of cards sized serving. Also, a veggie burger isn’t usually solid soy – usually some soy, with some wheat gluten or grains, nuts, seeds. If I have meatless meats at home, it’s usually an Yves brand. I don’t like to eat too much of that either, though because it’s high in sodium and like you, I’m still leery of eating too much soy. Still, I think an Yves Tofu dog is a better choice than a regular hot dog – no one seems to have issues with fermented soy (miso, tofu tempeh, natto, etc.)

  • Zoom you are a carnivore for real or you are just making a point? Because I don’t think humans can survive on meat alone…

  • I’m a carnivore in the sense that I eat meat. I think only an obligate carnivore lives (almost) exclusively on meat. I guess you could say I’m an omnivore.

    I’m finding the comments on this post quite educational.

  • XUP – I know TONS of vegetarians who eat (or more accurately – feed their kids) meatless meat every day – often 2 meals a day. Like I said its often new to vegetarian diet people or those who crave the texture (and the junk food). But culturally, it is also an issue with having school aged kids and going with the flow – you know when everyone else is having hotdogs your kid can have a veggie dog without looking strange.

    I am an omnivore, but I do have a lot of moral and environmental concerns with meat products – particularly factory farming. I’m really lucky, I doubt many people live in an area where school lunches are made with organic locally sourced meats and vegetables – but that is what my daughter gets at school instead of frankenfood. (Oh and we don;t do dairy either)

  • XUP

    Mudmama – meatless meat twice a day…gah! you ARE lucky to be able to send your kids to such a great school. We’re all lucky really to have so many options and such an abundance of everything. Being able to make personal choices about food is the ultimate luxury and freedom.

  • Ophelia

    I don’t understand people who don’t understand why people might want a meaty meatless burger or hotdog or chicken drumstick (168 Market – thank you!) once in a while!! ARGH! Some of us aren’t veg because we don’t like the taste of meat. Some of us (like me) LOVED the taste of meat (15 years ago) but don’t like the thought of supporting the unending cruelty and misery that is factory farming.

    And Kuri – sometimes even veg people who can cook and who like whole foods eat fake meat… it’s akin to a omnivore eating McD’s or Hamburger Helper once in a while. Sometimes you just want something easy, fast, and meaty.

    Why, oh why?, are vegetarians so easily the target of meal and cooking criticism? People say, “Ugh what is in that?” if I have a veggie burger but have they stopped to think what ass/hormones/chemicals are in their burger? Has anyone read up on the SAD (Standard American Diet) lately? I’m a healthy, healthy lady with good iron-rich blood and plenty of protein in my diet and think I represent the majority of veg people out there. If anything we take better care of ourselves because we are more conscious about what we put into our bodies.

    Sorry for the ranting… you caught me on a very, very bad PMSy day and I’m usually much more of a lurker. Gosh, I’m going to take off my defensive vegetarian shirt now and burn it… I barely recognize myself. Then I’m going to drown my sorrows in a Tofurky and mustard sandwich.

    And I’m not coming back to read anymore comments so congregate and plan my beheading if you wish.

  • Okay, somebody start sharpening the guillotine. 😉

    Ophelia, even though you’re not reading this, I just want to say that I didn’t intend anything I said to be critical or offensive to vegetarians, omnivores or carnivores. (Seagulls, maybe.) I’m just surprised it sparked any controversy at all. (If I had wanted to be controversial, I would have said something like ‘Omnivores never get PMS.’)

    You know I’m kidding, right?

  • I didn’t think anyone was critical of vegetarians in this thread, just critical of “fake foods” of any ilk.

    I know raw foodists who saw raw foodies never get pms zoom…they just lose their sense of humour about once a month :)

  • sheila

    Just to put in my two cents worth, I was a vegan for 3 or 4 years. I gave up meat because I did not like to participate in system that was so cruel to animals. And since I hate cheese and I’m lactose intolerant and allergic to eggs, I thought I might as well be a vegan. But I missed the foods I grew up eating and fake burgers were a nice change sometimes. I didn’t miss steaks or chops. I missed meatloaf and meatballs.

  • I never understood why a vegetarian would want their food to resemble meat…

    And that picture of the seagull made me throw up in my mouth a little…

  • Lisa in Toronto

    I do eat fake meat, at vegetarian restaurants in China, and I have become used to it. Yes it is really just tofu or wheat gluten (I am fine with both) in other shapes than cubes.
    However the weirdest fake meat I ever saw was in a Buddhist temple vegetarian restaurant in Chengdu – vegetarian crispy intestines.
    Yes my boyfriend wanted to order it – it was basically spicy deep-fried crunchy rings.