Welch: Be glad fake meat isn't people
Fake meat. I didn’t know they made it.
But here’s what a friend in California just told me:
“The imitation meat market here bit the dust. People aren’t ready for fake meat yet. Something about Soylent Green too.”
That movie I vaguely remember. Charlton Heston starred, but what was the plot? Didn’t people end up getting eaten after they chose to die?
Thank you, Wikipedia. You’ve confirmed my memory. Heston’s famous closing line:
“Soylent green is people!”
Somehow potted meat is beginning to sound good.
Anyway, on sale recently at one of my dollar stores was something called Hot Mamma pickled sausage (except I changed the name). How bad could it be? I’m a sucker for sale items.
When you bite into anything that’s supposed to be meaty and encounter no texture, you wonder. Granted, Vienna sausages are texture-less. So are wieners. Why wasn’t I prepared for no texture in the pickled Hot Mammas? I just wasn’t. I searched the ingredients, expecting to find eyeballs mentioned early in the scheme of things.
Top three: “Mechanically separated chicken, pork, soy protein.” Then the list trailed off into salt, flavoring, corn syrup solids, beef, paprika and some chemical stuff. Somehow, for whatever reason, the list ended with “Contains: soy.” We knew that.
No eyeballs. I felt better, and kept eating.
Oddly enough, the fact that soy protein was a main ingredient made me feel better. Soy is a good thing. A distant cousin grows soybeans in Minnesota. Soy sauce enhances yams. The high price of soybeans helps support beef prices. Soy is not Soylent Green.
Guess what! You can buy Soylent at Walmart! Who knew?
The good news: Soylent is not people. Whew! It’s soy, plus some other stuff.
Soylent.com says this: “Soylent envisions a world where every person can afford and access all the nutrition and calories they need.”
Yeah, me too. So what does Soylent cost at Walmart?
You pay $9.98 for four 11-ounce creamy chocolate Soylent protein nutrition shakes. Compared to my on-sale pickled Hot Mammas a 24 cents per ounce, the shakes are indeed slightly cheaper. Hmmm!
But compared to the perfect food – buttermilk – Soylent is pricey. Good old Walmart buttermilk is less than five cents per ounce.
Probably somebody who is down and out and holding up a sign asking for food has neither Soylent nor buttermilk in mind. Reminds me of the time I offered a mendicant some yogurt, and they told me they liked only the kind with the fruit on the bottom. Yeah, me too.
Makes me think I’ll turn up my nose the next time I see these no-texture sausages for sale. Nose turning up, whoever you are, is a way to feel superior to whatever. Gotta nurture one’s self-image.
Then maybe I’ll buy some Soylent. I’ll feel good about my generous contribution toward helping a company intent on producing affordable save-the-world sources of nourishment.
A Soylent shake may pair quite well with my next half-price Tuesday Sonic cheeseburger. We’ll see.
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Welch: Be glad fake meat isn't people