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Serious question not an attack, just curious

I am a new member here, brought here by lobster hand holding, lol, seriously! I must admit I am not a vegetarian or vegan, I am a meat eater, but I hope that won't be a problem as I am here to learn and not start wars or problems. Something I have always in all seriousness wondered has to do with vegetarian food items. Something I don't understand is why some of that food is made to look like meat. I understand the motives and principles of vegetarian lifestyles, so it doesn't seem to make sense to me why a tofu mixture would be made to be shaped like a hamburger or chicken nugget. (I apologize for my ignorance, I am not even sure if those are made of tofu, I just assume it is). I am not attacking or saying that is awful or anything, I just am really curious about it. If anyone could let me know their opinions or experiences about this, I would appreciate it. Thank you all for your open mindedness! =)

I've met veg*ns that do not eat fake meat, but I think that its a positive alternative, so that we dont appear to be really that different at all.  Like, if I went to a restaurant with my coworkers and ordered a veggie burger while everyone else ordered a hamburger, then i wouldnt stand out as being out of the ordinary.  Whereas if I would order just a salad and no dressing, no crutons, no meat, no cheese... then I might get some annoying comments.  I think it's also to lessen the dramatic change of going vegan, if someone LOVES hamburgers, has them every friday night, but then decides to go veg*n, they can still keep up with that tradition.

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How about, so it will still fit on the bun? ::)

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well, i would say there is nothing "owned" or "natural" about the shapes that most meat products come in. like burgers, meatloaf are shaped that way so what do i care if some veggies are also shaped that way?

i've seen some argue that the familiarity can help some switch, since many are raised on a SAD and might have a hard time figuring out how to go from omni to veg*n in one shot. at least veggie burgers, cheeze slices, etc are familiar (compared to, ikd, crookneck squash and millet)

eta: when i saw the subject, i thought this would be one of the semen threads  ::)

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a flavor is a flavor to me.. if i like the flavor of chicken nuggets i can't help it that.  although i can decide that i don't want another creature to have to die in order for me to enjoy a certain flavor or texture.  i was raised eating meat and cheese so i enjoy tasting something that is familiar to me.  i hadnt had my dads fish in over 13 years and one day i made a faux fish with a cornmeal coating and it was like a total flashback!  i was giggling like crazy as if i had pulled one over on mother nature!  it was so exciting to have the same experience without the guilt of seeing my dad clean a live fish in front of me. 

maybe you'll understand it if i compare it to eating a equally good tasting but fat free version of something.  if a person told you that you might as well just eat the real thing you'd probably say 'no - because i don't want the fat." 

for us we'd say "no - i don't want the animal"

hope that helped & welcome!

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Some people, although vegan, may still crave the taste or feel of meat. Eating meat substitutes is a way to satisfy the urge to eat meat without anyone getting hurt. And without raising your cholesterol. The only foods that have cholesterol are animal products.

Eating tofu shaped like a turkey does no harm to any turkey!  :D

PS Not all vegans or vegetarians crave the taste or feel of meat. I don't. Just trying to explain a possible reason that a vegan might want to eat a burger shaped veggie patty.

ETA  Ok good...my thinking was totally right on now that I have read Propinecone's response! woo! 8-)

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well, i would say there is nothing "owned" or "natural" about the shapes that most meat products come in. like burgers, meatloaf are shaped that way so what do i care if some veggies are also shaped that way?

Yeah, there are only so many ways to shape moldable food--patties, nuggets, balls.....I mean, just because veg*ns use veggies or beans instead of flesh doesn't mean we have to think of all new shapes.  Let's not reinvent the wheel.

A burger patty is a burger patty.  What other shape can we form the food and still have it fit on a bun?  Just because we were first familiar with meat patties instead of vegetable patties doesn't mean meat has ownership of that shape, like bp said.

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well, i would say there is nothing "owned" or "natural" about the shapes that most meat products come in. like burgers, meatloaf are shaped that way so what do i care if some veggies are also shaped that way?

Yeah, there are only so many ways to shape moldable food--patties, nuggets, balls.....I mean, just because veg*ns use veggies or beans instead of flesh doesn't mean we have to think of all new shapes.  Let's not reinvent the wheel.

A burger patty is a burger patty.  What other shape can we form the food and still have it fit on a bun?  Just because we were first familiar with meat patties instead of vegetable patties doesn't mean meat has ownership of that shape, like bp said.

if anything - meat is copying off of vegetables!  i don't know any meats that are naturally round like a meatball.. or flat like a patty..  tomatoes, and portobella mushrooms on the other hand... they were naturally made to be tossed into pasta and made into a sandwich!

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You don't have to hate the taste of meat to be vegan.  There are three main reasons to be vegan:  health, environmental protection, and animal welfare.  In reality, it's usually a blend of the three.  There's nothing inherent in any of those that says a person wouldn't like the taste of meat, just that the person is making an active personal and/or ethical choice not to participate in using animal products.

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I really don't care what shape my food is. Seriously.

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I really don't care what shape my food is. Seriously.

:-X

there are so many shapes that i would like to form your food into just to see if you reeeeeeally mean that.

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???

I didn't mean it negatively. It just doesn't matter if it's a patty, ball, smooshed, carrot-shape..ya know. As long as it's vegan..and good!

eta: Rude, ppc! I WAS going to say that I probably wouldn't want my food shaped into a cow head or anything like that, but I didn't! You freaking shape my food, and I WILL like it.

Also, re: the nugget thing..I don't think it's wanting the food to look like a chicken nugget, it's wanting to have  bite sized pieces of food that will bake quicker, and work as finger foods. Stuff like that.

Rude, ppc.

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hahaha  ;)

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I think this is a really awesome question because it relates to TONS of similar tensions that arise between veg*ns and non-vegans.

Like, people consider baking with chicken's eggs and cow's milk "normal," but baking with any other ingredient which performs the same function as these creates an "imitation" or "fake" version.  Well, no, people just traditionally happen to cook with animal products because that's what they had.  And they made their recipes around that. 

If we lived in a society where we instead domesticated only giraffes and emus, we might be cooking with their secretions.  Or if we lived in a society without farmed animals at all, we'd use flax seed and nut milk!  To me, it has nothing to do with trying to emulate another INGREDIENT, itself, but trying to emulate a FUNCTION.  And lots of ingredients perform the same functions.  Flesh and beans can both make meaty burgers.  Just depends on whats available and what you choose to use.

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In looking over several responses (little2ant and propinecone especially), I think there's an important distinction here between the "shape" of something and the taste/texture of it. I can shape anything like a patty and put it on a hamburger bun; I can shape anything in sausage-link form and put it on a hotdog bun. But, why go to such lengths to make it SO much like a meat product? My SO has said on numerous occasions that he understands a tofu stir-fry more than a chick-un stir fry, because the chick-un seems like it's trying to imitate something it's not. I guess the question is, why go to such pains to emulate?

My own take on this? Closest to what baypuppy and little2ant said. It's an easy analog that one can take and substitute, particularly as one is transitioning. Sure, "burgers" made of lentils or grains fit on the bun, but a boca burger feels more, well, burger-y. Same with veggie dogs, veggie lunch meat, tofurkey, and sliceable vegan cheeze. You grow up with a script of how a "meal" looks in your head, and that script is hard to adapt. This is a stepping stone.

Even among those who are established in their veg*nism, there are reasons. To me, there are a few occasions where there is a social advantage to having something that looks as close to the omni thing as possible. Having veggie dogs at the ballpark comes to mind. Also, like propinecone said, there are some flavors that one may just really like that a meat analog does a better job of emulating. (Although I personally found that being able to identify specific flavors helps too, and maybe more. After experimenting with chickpea salad sandwiches I found that my fondness for tuna had nothing to do with the fish and everything to do with a magical combination of celery, onion powder, ground black pepper, and a mayo-type dressing.)

My own issue (as a veg*n for over half my life with reasonable cooking skills) is that lots of these are so artificial, and I'm not improving the healthfulness of what I'm eating as much as I could. If one of the large reasons that I'm veg*n is health, then what good does all the fake stuff do me? Also, these packaged foods are expensive, and I think that they help foster the myth that veg*nism is somehow more expensive than an omni diet.

Fake turkey REALLY grosses me out. It's TOO close to the real thing for me. Field roast FTW!

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Ooh, two more smaller thoughts:

1. Along the meat analog as a transition tool line of thought, I think this could be a PR issue too. Perhaps more might be willing to try a meat-free diet if they knew they didn't have to give up their favorite foods? To me it's almost fun sometimes to find a meat substitute and brag about it to my omni friends (so I'm a Philly girl who can't eat a steak sandwhich? Not anymore...!)

2. Another reason, potentially, could be simply variety. I love tofu as much as the next veg*n, but it's fun to see a menu full of mock duck, chicken, shrimp, scallops, and even lobster and know it's all for you!

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I don't know...for me its not because I want to "fit in" with omnis. Once several years ago we were at Disney World and my little veggie manual assured me there was Tofutti icecream for sale in the park. It was a crazy insane vegan goose chase trying to find it....no one knew WHAT the hell I was talking about. I finally found the place and it was this huge ordeal because it was back in the deep freezer under lock and key. They FINALLY made my icecream cone and I paid more for it than I would have paid for the little tub.

Anyway, as I was walking around with my icecream cone with all the other drones I felt really silly and embarrassed to be eating an icecream cone. I wanted to somehow label it VEGAN!  :D ;D

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My niece will only eat chicken that is shaped like dinosaurs.  ???

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I don't know...for me its not because I want to "fit in" with omnis. Once several years ago we were at Disney World and my little veggie manual assured me there was Tofutti icecream for sale in the park. It was a crazy insane vegan goose chase trying to find it....no one knew WHAT the hell I was talking about. I finally found the place and it was this huge ordeal because it was back in the deep freezer under lock and key. They FINALLY made my icecream cone and I paid more for it than I would have paid for the little tub.

Anyway, as I was walking around with my icecream cone with all the other drones I felt really silly and embarrassed to be eating an icecream cone. I wanted to somehow label it VEGAN!   :D ;D

that story reminds me of a friend of mine who doesnt like fake meat because he doesnt want people to think that hes and omnivore.  that makes sense to me too.  that by eating fake meat you're saying to other people "i eat burgers" and that might encourage someone else to go get a real burger.

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I don't know...for me its not because I want to "fit in" with omnis. Once several years ago we were at Disney World and my little veggie manual assured me there was Tofutti icecream for sale in the park. It was a crazy insane vegan goose chase trying to find it....no one knew WHAT the hell I was talking about. I finally found the place and it was this huge ordeal because it was back in the deep freezer under lock and key. They FINALLY made my icecream cone and I paid more for it than I would have paid for the little tub.

Anyway, as I was walking around with my icecream cone with all the other drones I felt really silly and embarrassed to be eating an icecream cone. I wanted to somehow label it VEGAN!   :D ;D

that story reminds me of a friend of mine who doesnt like fake meat because he doesnt want people to think that hes and omnivore.  that makes sense to me too.  that by eating fake meat you're saying to other people "i eat burgers" and that might encourage someone else to go get a real burger.

Totally!!  Many eons ago - I used to buy that Morningstar "bacon".  My roomate at the time, commented that the smell made her hungry for meat bacon.  So she went and got some. :( 

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Also, I mean, NOW the taste, smell, and texture of real meat grosses me out, mainly because I know more about the industry and whatnot, and I went straight from omni to vegan--

It doesn't matter to me if something looks or tastes like a meat product, because I know that I'm not contributing to harming animals anymore.

Does that even make sense?

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