Our neighbor invited my husband and I over for dinner. She was cooking sea bass with lemon, onions and olive oil in a tagine along with a variety of vegetable side dishes. Since my husband’s a vegetarian and I’d rather him not be left out, I offered to buy a vegan fish fillet that my neighbor could season the same as the real fish and she agreed to do it. So I went to Whole Foods to buy the same fake fish I’ve been buying there for years when lo and behold, Whole Foods has gone mainstream. No longer could I find basic veggie salmon, I couldn’t even find veggie shrimp! The only item they had that was vegan and of the seafood persuasion was a vegan salmon in a sweet chili sauce. I think it even had mango in it. This tells me three things:
1. Whole Foods thinks vegetarians only eat Asian flavored foods.
2. Whole Foods thinks vegetarians don’t know how to cook.
3. Whole Foods think vegetarians are college students who only own a microwave to reheat food.
Well guess what Whole Foods–I own an All-Clad set! I cook vegetarian at home, am married to a vegetarian and love to cook so I don’t like getting the few vegan meat options to make meat alternative meals taken away! Sure I could make veggie meats from scratch, but I’ll do that when every wing-eater on earth goes out and plucks their own chicken. I already make my own bread, yogurt and butter. Can a girl get a break?! I just want to have the same basic food items available as the customer around the corner who only knows how to cook on her Foreman Grill. Why does that person get to have all the fun of using any sauce for her protein, while all I’ve got is another ginger garlic concoction?
Now some meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters alike will argue that fake meat in and of itself is nasty and weird because it’s fake so I shouldn’t bother and just move on. But isn’t everything we eat made fake?! Beef is grounded into an indistinguishable mound, and in many fast-food chains is given “meat flavoring” to make sure it tastes good. Vegetables are transformed into different shapes to make them seem like something else all the time. Ever had zucchini “spaghetti”? No it doesn’t taste completely like real spaghetti, but when cut into long thin slivers it acts the same in that it holds the sauce in a fun way. And look at all the food transformations being made by celebrity chefs to make one food taste or look like another, or the use of Miracle Fruit to make sour foods taste sweet for one meal.
So why this sudden change of heart Whole Foods? You can’t deny what you started off as. I remember back in Texas when you were run by a bunch of hippies, artists, musicians and people who believe that rock crystal actually work as a substitute for deodorant. Back then your employees actually knew about the products you sold. I liked you when you were crusty. Back then you were a vegetarian’s best friend. Now, I don’t know who you are anymore. I mean it was exciting to see you expand, add more tasty expensive items with a short shelf-life to your aisles, but your changing ways have gone too far. I want my unsauced veggie salmon back, I want faux shrimp, I want my Follow Your Heart Chicken-Free Chicken (which is excellent for making shredded chicken recipes), and I want my old Whole Foods back so I can eat something other than vegetable stir-fry with tofu.
- Whole Foods Parking Lot Music Video (fogandsmog.com)
- The Maximum Gluten Diet (slate.com)
- Call it vegetarian or fake meat, but real vegan substitute is hitting the market soon (socialbarrel.com)
- Poll: Do You Like Your Fake Meat To Taste Like Meat? (blisstree.com)