Many vegetarians and vegans struggle during the barbecue season. The average veggie-dog and/or meatless burger is by turns pasty and tasteless. I have a not-so-fond memory from when I was a vegetarian, trying to make a barbecued falafel burger from a dry mix (some of it may still be stuck to the roof of my mouth). I once discovered a tasty black bean burger in the organic frozen food section at the grocery store, and I brought that along to barbecues as a meat substitute. But it still wasn't meat with what Pat Brown calls the "unmistakable meaty, bloody taste," that I (we) crave.
Pat Brown is a scientist and creator of the Impossible Burger, a meatless burger that really tastes like meat.
"We use a protein from wheat, a protein from potato, coconut oil, and then we have the heme protein," Brown tells Kate Odell of Eater. It's what gives meat its uniquely meaty taste and red colour, [and] turns what was otherwise a mildly savoury taste into the unmistakable, crave-able taste. When you bite your tongue and taste your blood, what you're tasting is essentially the heme."
The Stanford University professor was inspired to create the Impossible Burger after deciding the best way to reduce greenhouse gases was to reduce global meat consumption.
"I figured I'd try to identify the biggest problem that I could have a positive impact on," Brown told CNBC. "I decided that it was basically the use of animals in the food system, which is by a wide margin the biggest threat to the global environment today."
Brown told Odell that by eating an Impossible Burger, rather than a burger made from a cow, "you reduce your greenhouse gas footprint by the equivalent of driving 18 less miles in the typical American car."
And the taste?
"Taste the patty solo, it has a distinctly meaty quality," says Odell. "I actually think it's good. I like it."
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