McGREGOR SAYS: What’s that you’re eating?

In this week’s column, Jim McGregor talks about ‘beyond meat’ alternatives

by Jim McGregor/Special to the Langley Advance Times

We were discussing all the hype about ‘beyond meat’ products and I confessed that I hadn’t had a beyond meat burger, burrito, taco, sausage or any other plant-based ground round impersonator.

To me, it just doesn’t sound right. Years ago I watched a science fiction movie titled Solyent Green about feeding the over-populated planet in the future and the ending was not good, so I won’t go into detail.

But later, I was thinking I might have to revise my statement.

With six kids in the family my mom always kept us fed. She was not a gourmet cook, but there was always lots to eat and it was not our place to complain about meals or leave food on our plate.

But once in a while we would be served mutton or liver and onions, both could be considered ‘beyond meat.’ The mutton tasted like boiled work socks and, because Dad didn’t eat rare meat, the liver was cooked until it was like the sole of a boot.

Mom made great stews that would ‘stick to your ribs.’ But sometimes she would toss in kidney, heart, or some other exotic ingredient that would catch us by surprise. But once it was in our mouth it had to go down, not out.

I recall one dinner when we were served a platter of tongue. Dad glared at us, daring one of us to say something. To me, an animal’s organs are well beyond being considered meat. I mentioned before the episode of the butchered rabbits we had raised and named.

Furry pets should also go into the beyond meat category.

Then there was the ‘tinned meats’ like Spam or canned ham. After you opened the tin with the supplied key, the contents would hit the plate with a gross splat, covered in a gelatinous goop that had to be scraped away. I’m sure a senate hearing would not be able to determine what was actually in those tins, but, beyond meat for sure.

I have also been to some backyard barbecues where it’s hard to differentiate between the burgers coming from the grill and the chunks of charcoal that cooked them. I think five hundred degrees is about the temperature where lean beef goes beyond meat to coals.

Many late nights on the fire ground after a two- or three-hour blaze, the adrenaline would wear off and you would find yourself hungry.

The guys would direct you the tailboard of one of the pumpers where there was some lukewarm black coffee, and a cold, two-hour old cheeseburger. That burger was way beyond meat but it held you until you got to the bacon and eggs back at the hall.

Add to that, tons of bologna sandwiches in school lunches and a thousand hotdogs through the years, and I’ve had plenty of ‘beyond meat.’

I won’t be surprised if I’m giving the address to ‘beyond meat Haggis’ next Burn’s night.

At least that’s what McGregor says.

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