Profs & Pints: A History of Meat Mimicry
Profs and Pints presents: A History of Meat Mimicry, with Adam Shprintzen, assistant professor of history at Marywood University and author of The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform.
Burger King recently introduced the Impossible Whoppera meatless version of its iconic burgerto customers throughout the United States. Soon after, Beyond Meat filed a much-ballyhooed IPO and saw its stock price surge, reflecting increased consumer enthusiasm for mass-produced fake meats.
While these products may be new, fake meats have a long history in Americas food scene.
Meat substitutes were first marketed in the United States starting in 1883. With funding from the federal government, the experimental kitchen at the Battle Creek Sanitarium began cranking out products purported to look, taste, and smell like meat. An enterprising woman, Ella Eaton Kellogg, harnessed the power of science to reinvent vegetarianism in America and spark a movement to substitute meat on American plates, with products like Protose and Nuttose shifting American diets. For vegetarians this change paid significant dividends, and not just in terms of taste. Their movement gained notoriety, social cache, dietary praise, and respectability. In the process, though, it lost its radical, political edge.
Come find out about the history of meat substitutes in America, how they were invented, where they came from, and how people responded. The surprising story of meat substitutes gives us a better understanding of our current fascination with fake meat and might just also provide a warning to these products potential pitfalls.
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