Day 68 – fraudulent cooking

Today, I finally tried something I’ve been meaning to do for ages: I cooked a meat-free chilli to see what it would taste like and whether C. would notice. I thought of doing that because I’ve heard so many vegetarians tell me they cooked meat-free versions of various dishes and nobody noticed the difference.

I’m not a fan of these vegetarian replacement products. I cook and eat vegetarian a lot and vegan regularly. However, it’s not a statement when I do so. It’s simply because I fancy a vegetable pizza, ratatouille or whatever. And if I want a schnitzel, that’s what I’ll have – not some processed creation supposed to fool me into thinking I’m having a schnitzel, but an actual schnitzel. And tofu is something I love for what it is rather than for what it can replace.

But for this experiment I decided to go all the way and bought some of that soy fake mince stuff. It neither looks nor smells particularly interesting, but funnily enough, once cooked it does have a texture very similar to minced meat.

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Obviously, the chilli was lacking the flavours from the meat, so I tried to compensate that with spices, vinegar and some beetroot for am irony taste. I was pretty happy with the result – it really was quite similar to the real thing. However, I have to admit I prefer the meaty version – not least because, like I  said, I just find it silly to pretend to be cooking something I’m not. If I want to make vegetable stew, that’s what I’ll do. However, tonight has made me understand a bit better why people might do it. It tasted great. I just don’t know if the fake mince was actually necessary. Next time, I’ll just make some “Texan stew” with all the ingredients bar the meat.

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C. actually didn’t notice the lack of meat. He just said he really liked it. Only when I asked whether he noticed any difference did he say yes and point out the beetroot. He still didn’t notice the fact that it was actually a chilli sin carne though. Pretty impressive, especially considering he has had my chilli loads of times and therefore really knows what it tastes like.

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