The Corner

Faux Cannibalism

A while back Rich Lowry (spit, curse, step on spittle) assigned me the task of “going Vegan.” The idea was to get me — a well-documented carnivore — to eat only bunny food for a month and then write about it. I lasted nowhere near a month. Anyway, there was one point I made in that article that I thought was actually very substantive but may have gotten lost in the general stream of jocularity and bile aimed at Rich. I’ve italicized the relevant part in this excerpt:

I tried a wide array of “cheese” products made from various non-dairy substances. And guess what? They all taste like really smart scientists got in a room and tried to come up with a close approximation of cheese. But, sorry, soy pizza doesn’t taste like pizza; it tastes like something trying to taste like pizza. That doesn’t mean it tastes bad, but it only tastes good to the extent it approaches tasting like the real thing. Throughout my ordeal, I kept referring to my meals as “pod-people food”; when you think of what “pod people” are like in Body Snatchers movies, what makes them creepy is that they’re almost human. Meatless Chick’n nuggets, truth be told, don’t taste that bad. In fact, I was astounded by how well the manufacturers simulated not just the taste, but the chewy texture, of chicken. But that’s what was so off-putting: It’s not chicken, and you know it.

For example, the meatless buffalo wings, manufactured by Health Is Wealth, were one of my favorite dishes. Labeled “Completely Meatless and 100% Vegan and Vegetarian,” they’re made almost entirely from soy and stone-ground wheat. I was disappointed to discover they don’t contain fake bones. But why not create fake bones? Well, if one is to take the arguments of the ethical vegans at face value, isn’t it a bit disgusting or immoral to make products that look like the foods they consider most evil? Fake hamburgers are really a marvel, but while they still come up short on the taste front, they certainly look like hamburgers. If meat is murder, why hawk products that look like the mutilated corpse? Consider our views on cannibalism, then imagine selling faux human flesh in, say, the form of human thumbs — “It tastes just like a missionary!” Wouldn’t that still be in poor taste?

Well, now you can answer the question yourself. Hufu — human flavored tofu.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now. @jonahnro

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