Thanksgiving Day is upon us. For many this day has become less about giving thanks and more about the food itself.
The talk leading up to the holiday is usually about pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and of course, the bird. In fact, it is common to hear people refer to Thanksgiving as Turkey Day.
But what about America’s vegetarian population? There are people who will refuse to eat a turkey. Some have chosen to be vegetarians for health reasons, but most do so because they do not want to see animals killed.
Sure, they might mention the poor conditions the birds face on factory farms or the painful way in which many birds are slaughtered. But if you offered to apply a local anaesthetic to the neck of a free range turkey before cutting its head off, I am sure that most vegetarians would still not want any part of it. They simply find the act of killing another animal for food barbaric. Some will go so far as to say, “Meat is murder.”
So, what do these people eat on Thanksgiving? Many will dine on a soy-based meat substitute such as Tofurkey. Tofurkey, and other similar products, are meatless alternatives designed to have the same texture and taste as a real bird.
Some describe this as a “cruelty-free” way to enjoy a turkey dinner. While such products may be tasty and heart healthy, is it really the best way to show respect for your feathered friends? Molding tofu into the shape of a bird and eating it seems an awful lot like hanging someone in effigy. Sure you’re using a body double, but in both these cases, imitation is not a very sincere form of flattery. Let’s face it. Most of us would never dream of eating a fellow human. And not just because it would involve murder. Decent folks are disgusted at the mere thought of cannibalism.
So what would happen if someone came out with a meatless product that had the flavor and texture of human flesh? You could call it Tofuman. Let’s be honest. I can’t really say with any certainty that it wouldn’t taste good. Maybe people are tasty. Who knows (and who wants to know anyone who knows)?
Would Americans buy such a product? Probably not. Because if meat is murder, wouldn’t simulated meat be simulated murder?
Granted, half of all prime time television shows begin with someone stumbling across a murdered corpse. And some people pay good money to attend a dinner theater where the main attraction of the evening is a simulated murder. But these types of shows are popular because people like to try and solve a “whodunit” type mystery. I am pretty sure that none of the actors on the Murder Train are going to get up and say, “Someone shot the butler. Grab your forks and dig in!”
Which brings me back to our Tofurkey-eating friends. If you really love your feathered friends, quit trying to copy us carnivores and get yourself a nice mushroom pizza this Thanksgiving.